Saturday, October 19, 2013

How to remove shortcuts from the Windows desktop only for an user

If you have a Windows PC with more than one user account, and you delete a shortcut from an user's desktop, it will probably be deleted also from the desktops of the other users. But why this happens? And how is possible to keep different shortcuts on the desktops of the different users?
The answer to these questions is located in C:\Users (Vista, 7, and probably also 8 but I haven't tested it) or in C:\Documents and settings (XP). In this folder there is a subfolder for each user, plus a folder named public or All users, and in each of them lots of folder like DocumentsPictures, and in particular Desktop. If you open the Desktop folders, you will probably notice that on your desktop there are the items stored in your Desktop folder plus the ones in the public Desktop folder.

So, since the biggest part of the software's installers puts the desktop link in the public desktop folder, they are displayed on the desktops of all the users. To avoid this, simply move the links from the public desktop folder to the users' private desktop folders, and then you can remove the unwanted links from the folders of the single users.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to connect to the Internet an Android Wi-Fi only tablet using an old mobile phone

If you have an android tablet without a 3G/4G module, you can usually connect it to the Internet only through Wi-Fi networks. If you want to be online without a wireless hotspot, you can connect it using your phone's Wi-Fi host function; but what about if you have an old phone without the Wi-Fi module? This is my case (I have an old LG KU385 phone and this summer, when I was on holiday, I wanted to use it as a modem for my Asus ME301T tablet); I solved it with an app called BlueVPN, that can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store, and, once configured, opens a VPN connection through the Bluetooth module between the phone and the tablet, connecting this one to the Internet. Since this app is not very popular, I write this blog post so it can be useful for people in my same situation.
Note that connecting using this app is not exactly like surfing from a good Wi-Fi network: it's slow (this also depends on your mobile's signal strength) and some apps like Skype or Google play downloads don't work; this is because the tablet "thinks" to be offline also if he is online through a Virtual Private Network (in fact, some apps like Facebook display a message saying that there is no internet connection, but then they work well; on the BlueVPN's Google Play page there is a list of what is supported and what not). However, this is the only way to connect your tablet using as modem a phone without Wi-Fi.
Once downloaded BlueVPN, setting up the connection is simple. Here a quick tutorial:

  • First of all be sure you are offline (Wi-Fi module turned off).
  • Now, turn on Bluetooth both on phone and tablet and pair the two devices.
  • Open BlueVPN; you will see a screen like this, with your phone's Bluetooth name instead of KU385:
    BlueVPN's main screen
  • Tap the settings button in the upper left angle; you have to configure the correct parameters for the connection, given you from your mobile carrier. Usually the only parameters to configure are the dial-up phone number and the Access Point (APN). This is the settings screen:
    BlueVPN's settings screen
  • Then go back to the main screen and tap your phone's name; Warning: when you do this, you start the connection, so be careful about the connection fees of your mobile carrier.
  • Now you should be able to surf the internet, so open a browser and test it. If you have problems, disconnect (using the button in BlueVPN) and make some attempts changing the "Connection options" (Modem compatibility, LCP compatibility and Blackberry compatibility): depending on your phone's model, you will need to turn on or off these settings.
If you want more info, this is the developer's site.