The Best Articles for Creating a Dual-Boot PC or Tablet

If you like to use multiple operating systems but don’t have extra computers to spare, we at How-To Geek have can help you set up your computer or tablet to run more than one operating system.

Windows 7 and 8

If you want to try Windows 8 and either don’t have a spare computer or don’t have the hardware for running virtualization software, you can dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 8 on the same machine. The following articles show you how to do this using partitions and using VHDs.

Windows 7 and Older Windows Versions

If you’re using Windows 7 and you also want to use Windows Vista or XP, you can dual boot Windows 7 with Vista or XP. The following articles show you how without having to use virtualization software.

Windows and Linux

Have you wanted to use Linux but need to use Windows also? You can install Linux on your Windows computer and use both operating systems. The following articles show you how to run Ubuntu with Windows 7 and how to install Linux Mint on a computer running Windows 8.

Tablet Operating Systems

In addition to setting up a PC to dual boot different operating systems, you can also set up some tablets with two operating systems. The following articles show you how to set up a Galaxy Tab to run Honeycomb and Ubuntu and how to install Android on your HP Touchpad with the default webOS.

Modify Dual-Booting Systems

Once you set up your PC to dual boot different operating systems, the following articles show you how to change the which operating system is selected by default in various dual boot scenarios and how to remove Windows 8 from a dual boot setup. There’s also an article showing you how to reinstall the Ubuntu Grub bootloader if it has gotten wiped out by Windows.

Happy Dual-Booting!

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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Interesting Stuffs


What is ctfmon.exe And Why Is It Running?

You are no doubt reading this article because you are frustrated with the ctfmon.exe process that just won’t stop opening no matter what you do. You remove it from the startup items and it just magically reappears. So what is it?

Ctfmon is the Microsoft process that controls Alternative User Input and the Office Language bar. It’s how you can control the computer via speech or a pen tablet, or using the onscreen keyboard inputs for asian languages.

If you are using any of the above, you should leave it enabled. For everybody else, we’ll get to the job of disabling this annoying service.


Depending on your system configuration, there are a number of different steps to disable it. I’ve tried to list all the methods below.

Step 1: Disabling in Microsoft Office 2003

We can remove the alternative text input from Microsoft Office 2003 by just removing that feature in the setup.

Note: I haven’t figured out where the equivalent setting is for Office 2007 (if there is one), but we can also disable it a different way below.

Go to Add/Remove programs, choose to Change your installation of Microsoft Office and make sure you check the box for “Choose advanced customization of applications” before you hit next.

Find “Alternative User Input” in the list and change the dropdown to “Not available” so it looks like this:

Step 2a: Disabling in Windows XP

There’s an additional step we can take to make sure it gets turned off in Windows XP, which really seems to be the best answer for XP users.

Open up Control Panel and choose Regional and Language Options.

Choose the Languages tab and then click on Details in the top section.

Now on the Advanced tab you can choose to “Turn off advanced text services”, which should immediately close ctfmon.

You’ll also want to take a look at the first Settings tab, and make sure that your “Installed Services” box looks similar to this one:

If you have more than one Installed service then ctfmon might come back… For instance on my system there was an input for my drawing tablet so I could use it as a text input… which I don’t care about, so I clicked Remove on it.

Step 2b: Disabling in Windows Vista

The setting above for completely disabling text services doesn’t seem to exist in Windows Vista as far as I can tell, but we can remove the additional input services using a similar method.

Open Control Panel, choose Regional and Language Options and then find “Change keyboards or other input methods”.

On the Keyboards and Languages tab, you can select Change keyboards.

Now you’ll finally be at the same screen as in Windows XP. You’ll again want to remove the extra installed services in the list other than your default keyboard language.

Step 3: Remove From Startup

You won’t want to perform this step before doing the others, because it will just be overwritten again. Open up msconfig.exe through the start menu run or search box, and then find the Startup tab.

Find ctfmon in the list and disable it by unchecking the box. Just remember that if you haven’t disabled ctfmon through one of the other settings this won’t help you a lot.

Step 4: If all else fails

You can just completely unregister the dlls that run the alternative input services by running these two commands from the run box (one at a time)

Regsvr32.exe /u msimtf.dll

Regsvr32.exe /u msctf.dll

If you perform this step, you should also use Step 3 to get rid of the startup entries.

Step 5: Reboot

Reboot your computer and then open a Microsoft Office application if you do have that installed. Verify that ctfmon.exe is not running.

For more information you can read the Microsoft article on the subject.

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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in What is this???


Stupid Geek Tricks: Make Your Own Fake Virus with Notepad


Every geek wants to pretend that they are a dangerous hacker with the ability to take down any PC, and after you read this article, you can do show off your skills with nothing more than Notepad.

Of course, we’re not making an actual virus—it’s a fake virus. In fact, it’s a test virus. But it’s still fun, and today’s article is sponsored by reader Erik, who wrote in and told us about it.

Create a Fake Virus with Notepad

What we’re actually doing is re-creating the same technique talked about on’stest virus page, except we’ve got better screenshots.

Open up a Notepad window, paste in the following text, and then save it.



It should look exactly like this once you’ve pasted it…

And then you’ll almost instantly see a big fat warning that you’ve created a virus—as long as you’ve got anti-virus installed and working, of course. If you don’t see any warning, you should probably make sure your virus scanning software is properly enabled.

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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Stupid Geek Tricks


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Access Google Services From the Command Line

Want to show your geeky side and edit your Google Docs or write a Blogger post from command prompt?  Here’s how you can access a variety of Google services from command line with the GoogleCL.

Getting Started

GoogleCL is a Python command line application that lets you access various Google services from command line on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux.  Here we’ll be using the Windows version on Windows 7, but it would work the exact same on other platforms.

Head over to the download link below, and select the correct version for your OS.  If you want to run it on Windows, select the zip file.  Ubuntu users can download and install the .deb file.


After downloading the zip file for Windows, extract it as normal and then run thegoogle.exe program in the folder.

The first time you run Google CL, it will create a preferences folder at:


On one of our tests, we received an error saying that MSVCR71.dll was missing from our computer, so GoogleCL couldn’t run.  This is a C++ runtime library in Windows, and most programs that need it include it with their program files.  GoogleCL does not include this DLL in the zip file, so we’ll need to find a copy for it.

You’ll likely have many copies of this file throughout your computer, but GoogleCL cannot find them.  So, do a computer-wide search for msvcr71.dll, and copy one of these files it finds.

Now paste that dll file in the GoogleCL folder, and run google.exe as before.  Everything should work perfectly this time.

Using GoogleCL

GoogleCL’s syntax is very easy to use and understand.  To get started, you might want to checkout the readme.txt file included.  Or, just type help at the prompt to get some quick instructions.

You can use GoogleCL to access services on Picasa, Blogger, YouTube, Docs, Contacts, and Calendar via the command line interface, and we’d love to see future versions will include support for more items including Gmail and Search.  For now, though, these services are still useful.  Enter help followed by a service name to see more info about it and some usage examples.  Here we see the help for Calendar.

Activating a Service

When you first use a service, you’ll have to activate your computer with it online.  For instance, if we wanted to see all the appointments in our Calendar, we’d enter Calendar list.  You’ll be asked to specify a user; enter your Gmail email address.  Then, you’ll be prompted to approve the access in your browser, and the approval page will automatically open in your default browser.

Click Grant access in the webpage that opens, and then press Enter in the GoogleCL window.

You’ll have to do this for each of the Google services you use.  Even closely related services like Contacts and Calendar have to be activated individually.  One interesting aspect of this is that you could have different Google account associated with different services.  Once they’re activated, though, it’ll be easy to use these services on this computer.

Using GoogleCL

GoogleCL has tons of functions you can use to interact with Google’s services.  We’ll look at a few of the functions we found interesting.


First, we tried uploading a document to Docs.  To do this, enter:

docs upload path_to_your_document

This may take a minute depending on the size of your document, but once it’s done, you’ll see a success message and a link to your document.

You’re supposed to be able to edit documents by entering:

docs edit –title “your_document” –editor your_editor

However, this didn’t work in our tests, and we received an error message.  This should work in the future, and could have been caused by a problem on our end, but it would not work in any of our tests.


GoogleCL worked great for uploading videos to YouTube.  Once you’ve authorized your account, enter:

youtube post “your_file_path

Enter a category name when requested, and GoogleCL will start uploading your video to YouTube.  As usual, this will take a few minutes depending on the size of your video, but it’s still quicker than going to the YouTube page to post a video.

Note that you may see an error if you enter a category that is not available on YouTube.  If so, try again, this time entering a correct category.

For your reference, here’s some of the categories you can use from…so make sure you use one of them.


GoogleCL makes Blogger into a geekier blogging service.  You can review, tag and even create new posts on Blogger, all directly from command line.  You can write the body of your post in a text file, and you can even use HTML markup to make the post look like you want.  To do this, enter the following in GoogleCL:

blogger post –title “your_title” path_to_post_file

Moments later, we had a new blog post with the content from our text file.  We could have posted a long, well formatted HTML post, but hey, what’s better than the classic geek greeting for a geeky blog post?


Whether you’d like to quickly edit Gmail contact info, upload a YouTube video without using the flaky Flash uploader, or make a script that automatically makes a post on Blogger when you bang your head on the keyboard, GoogleCL gives you the tools you need to do more with Google than you though possible.  Who said Google doesn’t have a cloud OS?  When you can interact with a webapp via command prompt, suddenly it feels like Google is just another part of your computer.  We’ve only scratched the surface of what you can do with GoogleCL; check out the examples link below for more ideas.  Let us know what geeky projects you do with GoogleCL!


Download GoogleCL

Check out Example GoogleCL Scripts

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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Interesting Stuffs


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How to Clean Up Your Messy Windows Context Menu

One of the most irritating things about Windows is the context menu clutter that you have to deal with once you install a bunch of applications. It seems like every application is fighting for a piece of your context menu, and it’s not like you even use half of them.

Today we’ll explain where these menu items are hiding in your registry, how to disable them the geeky way, and an easier cleanup method for non-geeks as well.


Either way, your context menu won’t look like this one anymore…

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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Registry Hack, Windows 7


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Prevent Windows Update from Forcibly Rebooting Your Computer

We’ve all been at our computer when the Windows Update dialog pops up and tells us to reboot our computer. I’ve become convinced that this dialog has been designed to detect when we are most busy and only prompt us at that moment.

The real problem comes into play when Windows gets tired of reminding us and says that the computer is going to reboot in 5 minutes, and the only way you can prevent the inevitable is to temporarily disable Windows Update.

There’s a couple of ways that we can disable this behavior, however. You’ll still get the prompt, but it won’t force you to shut down.


This trick should work for all versions of Windows as far as we know. You can always resort to the temporary disabling measures instead.

Manual Registry Hack

Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search box or run dialog, and navigate down to the following key, creating new keys if they don’t exist.


Create a new 32-bit DWORD value named NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers and give it a value of 1 to prevent automatic reboot while users are logged on. Delete the value to put things back to the way they were.

Downloadable Registry Hack

Just download and extract the registry hack files and double-click on WUNoAutoReboot.reg to disable automatic reboots. The other script will remove the hack.

Download WUNoAutoReboot Registry Hack

Using Auto Reboot Remover Utility

If you’d rather not mess with the registry, you can use a small utility created by the guys at Intelliadmin which will make the changes for you. Just make sure you right-click and run as administrator if you are using Vista.

Download Auto Reboot Remover from Intelliadmin

This hack should work for the professional or business editions of XP, Vista, or even Windows Server. I’d be interested to hear your feedback in the comments.

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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Registry Hack, Windows 7


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A History of Windows

1975–1981: Microsoft boots up

Getting started: Microsoft co-founders Paul Allen (left) and Bill GatesGetting started: Microsoft co-founders Paul Allen (left) and Bill Gates

It’s the 1970s. At work, we rely on typewriters. If we need to copy a document, we likely use a mimeograph or carbon paper. Few have heard of microcomputers, but two young computer enthusiasts, Bill Gates and Paul Allen, see that personal computing is a path to the future.

In 1975, Gates and Allen form a partnership called Microsoft. Like most start-ups, Microsoft begins small, but has a huge vision—a computer on every desktop and in every home. During the next years, Microsoftbegins to change the ways we work.

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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Windows History


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