Hide your mouse cursor in Windows for ALL applications (even Visual Studio)

Although Windows already has an option to hide the mouse cursor whilst typing, which can be found under Control Panel/Mouse, this is respected on a ‘per application’ basis.

Unfortunately, many applications, such as Visual Studio, do not respect this setting, and leave the mouse cursor visible whilst typing.

This can be quite annoying, as one tends to type exactly where one clicked, i.e., where the mouse cursor currently is, and especially in the case of developers, the IDE is particularly rich, meaning that the mouse cursor will normally also activate tooltips related to the item they are hovering over.

This is a small script I have written and compiled using AutoHotKey that hides the windows cursor when a user starts typing any alphanumeric (and certain coding-related) characters, and shows it again as soon as a mouse movement is detected.

You can either get the latest executable from here, or you can run it as an AutoHotKey script by downloading the AutoHotKey utility from here

You can find the project landing page here, and my github repository here.


Show more tiles on your Windows 8 and 8.1 start screen

Ok, so I’m slowly getting used to the Windows 8+ tiles mode for the start screen, and I’m admittedly preferring it to the old start menu, or the full blow ‘all apps’ view that’s available as of Windows 8.1.

But wouldn’t it be nice if we could make the tiles smaller?

This is actually an option, but quite a hidden option.

This is my tiles view before:

Windows tiles default view
Windows tiles default view

And here is what they look like after:

Smaller windows tiles
Smaller windows tiles

How do I do it? ..you may ask

Simple, just:

  • Open your charms (put your mouse in one of the left corners, or slide your finger from the right edge of the screen, inward).
  • Select Settings
  • Select Tiles
  • Select Show More Tiles
Show more tiles
Show more tiles

Note: This only applies if you select ‘settings’ whilst in ‘Tiles View’ (i.e. not in desktop mode)

I hope this helps someone :)

Mounting your SkyDrive in Windows Explorer

In this post, I will go over how to set up your Microsoft Live SkyDrive as a mount in Windows, so that you can use it normally as you would use any networked drive.

The first step is to associate your LiveID with your user account.

  1. Launch the User Accounts control panel
  2. In the sidebar, select Link online IDs
  3. If there is an Online ID Provider of type WindowsLiveID, skip to step 7
  4. Select Add an online ID provider
  5. In the webpage that loads, select download, and then install the downloaded provider.
  6. Close and re-open the user accounts control panel
  7. Next to WindowsLiveID, select update credential… and enter your live id
  8. Launch Microsoft Word 2010, or any office 2010 application
  9. Select File > Save & Send > Save to Web > Sign In
  10. Once connected, select Save As
  11. In the save dialog that pops up… copy the address https://qwrapq….
  12. Cancel and open Windows Explorer
  13. Select Map network drive
  14. Give your drive a letter,. and paste the address that you copied earlier
And that’s all there is to it :) Now your SkyDrive is accessible from any program on your machine as easily as you would use a USB drive.
Has this helped you in any way? Let me know in the comments below :)

Where to find lots of Windows 7 and 8 themes

If you are looking for some good Windows 7 and 8 themes, my favourite place to go is the MicrosoftFeed website.  These themes come complete with sound effects, backgrounds, icons, etc….

Go get them here -> http://microsoftfeed.com/category/windows/themes-windows/

How to use the Windows Snipping Tool to capture menus and stuff you need to click on

The Windows Snipping Tool is a great little utility… almost as good as the screen capture features found in Mac OS X (I still prefer apple’s implementation of this feature).

Yet it might seem a bit hard to actually ‘snip’ certain items that we need to active either by hovering over them or clicking on them.  Ex. Menus, combo boxes, hover effects, etc…

It turns out that it is actually quite simple, just do the following:

  • Launch the Snipping Tool
  • Hit Esc, or click cancel – basically get out of ‘snipping’ mode
  • Active the menu, combo box, or whatever it is that you want to take a snapshot of
  • Hit the PrtSc (Print Screen) keyboard button…
…and voila… your screen is frozen as it is, and you are free to snip away any section that you want :)

Windows 8 Developer Preview Safe Mode

It turns out that the normal way to access safe mode is disabled in Windows 8 Developer Preview.

Instead, launch Windows, and do the following:

  1. Call up the ‘Run Dialog‘ by hitting WinKey+R
  2. Enter ‘msconfig‘ and hit enter
  3. Go to the ‘Boot’ tab
  4. Enable ‘Safe Boot‘ under ‘Boot Options’
  5. Restart your machine
To return to normal mode, just run the same process, and un-check ‘Safe Boot’