Recommended standard Windows/Office tweaks

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webfork
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Recommended standard Windows/Office tweaks

#1 Post by webfork » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:18 pm

If you've heard someone ask: What do you mean you don't want to use the Edge browser?

Background

TPFC is dedicated to free tools, many of which get around or fix problematic default Windows tools and functions, some not seeing much change since Windows 95. Additionally, some institutions have decided on requirements for a pure Microsoft environment due to either security requirements, limited IT, or an over-basic understanding of computers, which means only pre-determined software (usually Adobe and MS Office/Office 365).

Portable software is a kind of best-case scenario in computers, opening the door to so many other possibilities from multiple versions/instances, ease of backup/sync/share, and more, but for those of us that can't get to the ideal thing.

Scope

To be clear, the following is focused on Microsoft-only tools, but because at least a dozen different websites I could think of have something similar, I'm also including portable or freeware links for those that can break out of MS jail.

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  • Screen Capture - There are a few ways to do this, but a somewhat-recently added feature allows for use of (CTRL+WIN+S) to send directly to clipboard. Much better than the old, tedious Snipping Tool. I highly recommend using this in combination with the next feature. (Recommended portable program: ShareX - loads of features.)
  • Clipboard manager - (Win+V) - Nice, fairly simple clipboard history view, much better than the one built into Word. (Recommended portable program: ArsClip)
  • Text editor - it's not native to the OS but at least it's something better than notepad or a formatting-restricted Word document. MS Visual Studio Code. This one might actually be natively portable, but in the context of this post, you'll probably want to just install it. (Recommended portable program: Notepad++)
  • Running non-Microsoft programs - Windows Sandbox (Requires Win10 Pro) - as it's part of the standard OS, you might be able to enable it and run unsanctioned programs inside. (Recommended not portable program: Sandboxie.)
  • Browser - If you absolutely have to use Microsoft Edge, look into some add-ons. (Recommended portable program: I prefer Firefox, but we do have Google Chrome Portable, which is only barely portable. X-Chromium is much better.)

Advanced functions
  • Powershell - contains quite a few tools and capabilities to tweak your toolset and capabilities. (Recommended portable alternatives: MobaXterm Home Edition , ConEmu)
  • WSL - access to the Bash shell and thousands of other programs.
  • Tweak search settings - During System Setup: Open File Manager, run a test search, and then click Advanced Options – Check Indexed Locations and change it from C:\Users to whatever your username is e.g. C:\Users\AB123456. This is going to generally result in faster/better search results.


Help wanted
  • Paste to text? - the current process for this is tedious and inconsistent across applications (Excel has one method, Word another, Office365 another). This is maybe my worst gripe.


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Feedback and other tricks / suggestions are welcome.

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Re: Recommended standard Windows/Office tweaks

#2 Post by webfork » Sat Jan 09, 2021 2:34 pm

Think I may have already solved the "Paste to text?" problem, though it does require that Powershell is installed:

1. Paste the following text in a text file and save it with a ".bat" ending:

Code: Select all

powershell.exe -command get-clipboard | clip
2. Follow the steps in this article to get it added to the start menu/taskbar.

3. Click on this box whenever you need to quickly remove clipboard formatting.

Image

Again, feedback welcome.

freakazoid
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Re: Recommended standard Windows/Office tweaks

#3 Post by freakazoid » Sat Jan 09, 2021 2:59 pm

Great post, webfork!

It should be noted that Windows Sandbox requires the Pro Edition. Those with Windows Home will not be able to use it.
is it stealth? ;)

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Re: Recommended standard Windows/Office tweaks

#4 Post by webfork » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:25 pm

freakazoid wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 2:59 pm
Great post, webfork!

It should be noted that Windows Sandbox requires the Pro Edition. Those with Windows Home will not be able to use it.
Thanks and good catch -- updated the first post.

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Re: Recommended standard Windows/Office tweaks

#5 Post by Midas » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:06 am

webfork wrote: Help wanted
  • Paste to text? - the current process for this is tedious and inconsistent across applications (Excel has one method, Word another, Office365 another). This is maybe my worst gripe.

Feedback and other tricks / suggestions are welcome.

:arrow: Quick note to point out that ClipDiary (https://www.portablefreeware.com/?id=2787), my preferred clipboard manager, solves this off the bat with a (customizable) CTRL+SHIFT+V to paste plain text...

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Re: Recommended standard Windows/Office tweaks

#6 Post by rbon » Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:34 am

webfork wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:18 pm
[*] Running non-Microsoft programs - Windows Sandbox (Requires Win10 Pro) - as it's part of the standard OS, you might be able to enable it and run unsanctioned programs inside. (Recommended not portable program: Sandboxie.)
Sandboxie now has two lines of development:
1. Sandboxie Classic - Install (not portable): last ver. 5.46.1 (32/64 bit)
2. Sandboxie Plus - Install/Portable: last ver. 0.5.4 (32/64 bit)

• GitHub download page: https://github.com/sandboxie-plus/Sandb ... ag/v0.5.4b
• Sandboxie Plus - web site: https://sandboxie-plus.com

From Sandboxie Plus - web site:
The plus installer was improved it now provides a extract function and creates the required Sandboxie.ini and Sandboxie-plus.ini for portable operations.
All newly added features target the plus branch but often can be utilized in the classical edition by manually editing the sandboxie.ini file.

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Re: Recommended standard Windows/Office tweaks

#7 Post by webfork » Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:43 pm

rbon wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:34 am
Sandboxie now has two lines of development
Oh wow, very nice -- this feels like the sort of thing we should push to a Sandboxie thread. Maybe it's time for another unifying thread? Like with Tox?

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Re: Recommended standard Windows/Office tweaks

#8 Post by rbon » Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:37 am

webfork wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:43 pm
Oh wow, very nice -- this feels like the sort of thing we should push to a Sandboxie thread.
Before posting here I was in doubt with the discussion 'Sandboxie becomes free' viewtopic.php?t=24629, and probabily is better choice.

Please note that in my previous post I have writed link to a download release instead of GitHub project (there is a new release):
• GitHub project page: https://github.com/sandboxie-plus/Sandboxie
• GitHub download page (all releases): https://github.com/sandboxie-plus/Sandboxie/releases

B.T.W.
note that GitHub site name is 'sandboxie-plus'.
webfork wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:43 pm
Maybe it's time for another unifying thread? Like with Tox?
I'll think about it. Thanks.

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Re: Recommended standard Windows/Office tweaks

#9 Post by webfork » Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:21 pm

NOTE: This may deserve it's own thread but I'll start here first. This was previously addressed using (poorly) using either Acrobat or (very well) using PDF XChange Editor, but neither supports regex.

EDIT: The following search mechanism breaks down after about 500 characters, which isn't surprising or strange, I just got a little spoiled with PDF XChange allowing what seems to allow huge 1000+ search terms. It also doesn't support case sensitivity at the moment.

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Problem: Microsoft doesn't have a great relationship with Regular Expressions and Office Wildcards are just not as mature. There are some excellent regex-capable browser plugins that could function but refuse to work on files I drag into the browser (local webpages), as well as a surprising number of websites.

Solution: I setup a local webserver (I got the idea from these folks: https://github.com/presenta-software/pr ... starterkit) and have enabled regular expressions search that also enables multi-color highlighting.

Caveats
  • Not lightweight, requiring two browsers and some initial tweaks. This is admittedly convoluted, but I'm just thrilled to find some basic solution I've been chasing for over a year.
  • Search only (no replace yet).
  • Tested in Windows only, but it might well be cross-platform capable with some tweaks.
  • Requires Chrome - I recognize this thread (that I started) is Microsoft-focused, but since Chrome is almost ubiquitous now, your probably have access to that software.
Steps:

1. Open Edge and install Multiple Search and Highlight https://add0n.com/multiple-highlight.html
2. Open Chrome and install (and then run) the local webserver app https://chrome.google.com/webstore/deta ... hemlocgigb
3. Point the webserver to a local folder -- I saved it to c:\temp\webserv and createdan index.html. I bookmarked the localhost location:

Code: Select all

http://127.0.0.1:8887/
4. Because closing the pop-up window closes the program and I avoid use Chrome, I setup a batch file for the internal launcher so I can pull it up quickly:

Code: Select all

start "" "C:\Program Files(x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/web-server-for-chrome/ofhbbkphhbklhfoeikjpcbhemlocgigb/related
I then open the index page in an editor of choice (I like LibreOffice but you can also use MS Word) add whatever text I want to analyze, and then run my analysis. Or just replace whatever local web page with the index.html file and reload.

Result:

Image

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As always, feedback welcome.
Last edited by webfork on Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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