How to disable access to Drives using Disk Management

One of the visitors of SI, Joseph, recently asked in a comment to the post “How to disable access to specific drives with registry” how he could disable  access to a drive even for programs like Ashampoo which managed to override the registry trick. This is the trick you can use to prevent such sotware from accessing your drives. In one of the previous posts we had discussed how to Manage disk drives using Disk drive management console Object of Windows. We can use the Management Console to disable access to select drives also.

  1. Open the Disk Management Console

To open the Disk Management Console type “diskmgmt.msc” into the RUN dialog box and press ENTER.

Enter diskmgmt.msc into the RUN dialog and press ENTER
  1. Select the Drive

All the Drives in the storage devices connected to your computer will be listed here. Select the drive to which you want to prevent access and right click on it. Now select the option “Change Drive Letter and Paths..”

Right click on the drive and select "Change Drive Letter and Paths.."
  1. Remove the drive letter assignment

In the Dialog that opens, click “Remove” and then “Yes” if prompted for confirmation.

Remove the drive letter assignment.
  1. Hooray, you have disabled access to the drive

The change takes effect immediately. If it doesn’t, the try restarting windows explorer as explained.

The drive is removed from any sort of navigation..

The above mentioned trick will prevent everyone from accessing the drive for read or write purposes. Checkout the related posts for more…

How to use facebook chat on your desktop

Facebook has a built in chat engine which allows users to chat through their browser window. Using chat from a browser window is not always easy. The Facebook chat box makes this particularly hard too. It is easier to chat using a dedicated IM client. In a previous post I had talked about pidgin – a free IM client with support for multiple accounts.

The best part about pidgin is that it will allow you to converge your friends accounts into a single icon on the GUI. that is you can combine a friends GTalk and Yahoo ids to a single name on pidgin. If the user is online is any one account your IM will message automatically to that id. This does not mean you can cross chat from Yahoo to GTalk or vice versa.

Although Pidgin supports Myspace there is no built in support for FaceBook chat. but that’s not going to let you down, because there is a wonderful plugin available solely for that purpose. The pidgin-facebookchat plugin developed under Google code and distributed under GNU GPLv3 can let you use FaceBook chat on Pidgin. The plugin is available for both Windows and Linux.

Add a FaceBook account to pidgin screen shot
Add a FaceBook account to pidgin screen shot

After installing the plugin goto “Accounts>>Manage Accounts>>Add” From the dropdown select Facebook as the protocol. Set you <username> and <password> of your Facebook account. You can set additional options including email notifications and Status updates from Pidgin under the Advanced tab.

pidgin-facebookchat home list of downloads

WordPress blog painfully slow except for front page

Last day when coming back to edit my blog ( ) I was literally shocked to find out that the login page took ages to load. Thinking that it was a server issue because I had been here a few hours before, I came to face the reality the hard way. The problem was that the landing page or the front page or the index page of the blog was alright without any problems but every other page including the admin pages took many minutes to load, sometimes even dropping the connection.

So what should we do on such situations? After a brief search on Google and coming out with no practical answers I decided to go my own way. The steps : Since the front page was OK it was not a Database or Server issue. To make this sure I tried FTP using Filezilla and found out that FTP was fine. Since the admin interface was affected I couldn’t try deactivating plugins altogether. so I decided to try a trick. Rename the “plugin” folder.

Click for larger image with details. Renaming the plugins folder.

Note the path to the folder : /wp-content/plugins

Right click on the folder and select Rename. Rename it with some other thing. You would successfully have brought down your WP blog now. Most probably your blog won’t work. (Make sure you try to access your blog at least once after the renaming). But hey its just temporary. Rename the folder back to plugins. Now you will have all of your plugins deactivated.

Now start reactivating plugins one at a time or in groups and watch which plugin is causing the trouble. This was my idea of the last minute trick you can use to deactivate plugins if the admin pages are unavailable. Share your thoughts!

Feedreader on your WordPress dashboard

The WordPress community like any OpenSource project has got a highly creative and devout developer base. They never fail to please you with every major release of WP. So the customizable dashboard was also no surprise. But the fact that we can use some applets on the dashboard as makeshift feed reader is what really impressed me. If you have  a self hosted WP blog, you should probably have noticed this, or may be you don’t. So here is how you can view feeds on your WP dashboard.

You can use two of WordPress applets as feed reader which will show you the title with the first few sentences from a feed. The third one is much limited. This is made from the “Incoming Links” applet and so it shows only the first few words of the posts and the link. The two applets that can be used to view latest feeds as excerpts are titled “Other WordPress News” and “WordPress Development Blog”. When you move your mouse over the Title Bar of these applets you can see a configure link.

WordPress dashboard being edited as feed reader

Click on that ad you will be taken to a page where you can set options for that particular applet. The config options include number of posts to be shown from that feed, Address of the feed, Title of the feed and some minor tweaks. I have added this blogs feed to the applet to show you how its is done. Once you have set these options you ca save them and configure the other applet. Coming to the third applet which is a little less mighty, things ecome somewhat different. We cannot edit the title of this applet directly from the dashboard (although we can do it by editing WP core file). You can just edit the address of the feed and the number of posts to be shown.

Subscribed to feed using WordPress dashboard Applet. Click here to get screen shot of my Dashboard

If you would like to keep the original applet feeds, make sure you save the feed addresses before changing them. You can use these applets to subscribe to two blogs which you can never miss out on. Although this can’t be substituted for a regular feed reader this would be fun tweaking.

How to Disable Autoplay/Autorun

As we discussed in the last post in the series, the best way to prevent infection by a Virus is to Disable Autorun. So how do you disable Autorun? The easiest way to do this is using Group Policy Editor which is a Microsoft Management Console Object. To Turn Off AutoPlay/ AutoRun follow these steps :
Watch this step by step Flash Tutorial

1. Goto START»RUN gpedit.msc

2. Browse to the folder Computer Configuration»Administrative Template»System.


goto Computer Configuration»Administrative Template»System

3. Scroll down and Open Turn Off Autoplay option.

4. Enable it and select All Drives

Select All Drives

This will be a system wide change. Instead if you need to turn Off Autorun just for your user account do the same in the folder -

User Configuration»Administrative Template»System

Please read the previous post in the series for some more useful tips on preventing Viruses.You might want to use the Address bar tip give at the end of last post in this series too.

Free Disk tools to analyse Disk usage graphically

Disk Usage Analyser(DUA) is a GNome ustility available for Linux. As the name indicates DUA scans the filesystem and finds out how much space is occupied by each directory and file. It then shows the usage along side a folder tree as a bar graph.When you click on a directory name, memory usage by each subfolder and files can be seen as an arc diagram on the right pane.

Left side shows a tree structure and bar graphs while the right pane shows the selected directories memory usage and its contents.
Left side shows a tree structure and bar graphs while the right pane shows the selected directories memory usage and its contents.

The Disk Usage Analyzer can be used to find out which directory or file uses how much space. It can be very helpful if you are trying to clean-up some Hard Disk Space from your PC. A similar tool for Windows is WinDIrStat at but this one is a little less visaully attractive one. For KDE users KDirStat might be a solution.

Is Firefox stable as it is said

Firefox has been long speculated to be one of the most stable browsers. On Windows I also believe this is true. But since running Ubuntu and Firefox for the past few months, I have to believe otherwise. Crashing Firefox has been a daily scene for me. Firefox gets hung even while loading GMail. This is not my problem alone. My friend who has got a completely different configuration has got the same problem. Here is a screen shot.

Firefox is ever ready to stop responding in Ubuntu

On Ubuntu Opera seems to be more stable than Firefox. But under Windows both are equally stable. For Firefox the problem has been almost solved by version 3.0.5 which we are running now. If you have faced a similar problem please comment specifying it.

Image aspect ratio correction using GIMP

In the last post we saw how to correct the aspect ratio of a video. Here is how you can edit an image to its correct sizes using GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). For this I first reduced the image height. And that’s why it is seen as stretched. Now lets see how we can correct this.

1. Open the image in GIMP

2. Goto Image»Scale Image

3. Click on the Keep Aspect ratio Button (the small chain like icon next to the pixel box)

4. Change one of the dimensions (either height or width) to make the image to have a sensible shape

5. Save it.

The video is a screen cast of me doing the above procedure with an image of my favorite bike.

Setting the correct aspect ratio for a video

Many a people still don’t understand what the correct aspect ratio of an image or a video is. It is the correct ratio between its width and height which will make the image look normal to the eyes and not like a print on a stretched balloon.

Wrong aspect ratio

wrong aspect ratio can destroy the beauty


Correct aspect ratio

CBR 1000 RR correct aspect ratio

How do you correct if a video has wrong aspect ratio.

Video :

If the aspect ratio of a video is not correct then play it in VLC media player. Goto full screen mode and press “A” on the keyboard. This will change the aspect ratio. Repeatedly press the key until the aspect ratio is OK. Alternatively you can right click the screen and goto Video>>Aspect Ratio and select an aspect ratio from the list.

o adjust the aspect ratio of an image could be done using more than one tool. I will explain this in a later post.