Play Mahjong Solitaire All Day Long Online for FREE

Mahjong, an ancient game that originated in China, has long been one of my most favorite games on the computer since the inception of the computer.  I can remember years ago when I first got into computers, finding a good software driven Mahjong game was a big deal.  Especially when the Mahjong tiles became more 3D in appearance.

Recently I went on the hunt on the internet to see if I could find a decent online version of Mahjong.  I hit the jackpot when I found 247 Mahjong [CLICK HERE] .

247 Mahjong

247 Mahjong is an Adobe Flash based game that you can play directly in your web browser (no software install required). 247 Mahjong features sounds, background music, a timer and 8 different tile sets to select from.

To Play Mahjong: Mahjong Solitaire is a tile matching puzzle game. You may click on any “free” tiles (those that are on the edge) to select them, and match them with other free tiles with the same face to eliminate them from the board. Beat Mahjong by eliminating all tiles.


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How to Zoom In and Zoom Out a Browser Window

This is actually a repost; however, it contains a couple of browser tips that you can’t post enough.  If you don’t use it, you will lose it!

Have you ever visited a web site where the text size is to small to read or you are finding that your eyesight (like mine) is going downhill, and reading certain elements varies from page to page?

Here is a “little known and little used” computer tip for you internet users… By holding down the “Ctrl” key and moving your “mouse scroll wheel” you can “zoom in and zoom out” on a web page.  You can also do the same thing, without using the mouse or “Ctrl” key, by hitting the “+” (plus) and “-” (minus) keys on the numeric keypad, located on the right side of your keyboard.  Give it a try! It will not permanently change any default settings. If you find that you need to return to the normal default (original) setting, simply hold down the “CTRL” key and hit “0” (the number zero). This works in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and probably all of the browsers.  Give it a try!

Mouse Wheel to Zoom In and Zoom Out

The “zoom in and zoom out” tip, using the “Ctrl and Mouse Wheel” will also work with other applications as well, with varying results (e.g. Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, many graphic viewers/editors, pdf readers, etc…).  For example, in Microsoft Word, when working on a mult-page document, you can “zoom out” to the point that it will tile (show all) your pages on the screen.

Added Tip: Was helping someone today on a small computer screen complete a task online in their web browser and toggled to full screen. They were astonished and asked “How did you do that?”.  Simply hit “F11” on your keyboard to toggle back and forth from full and normal screen.


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Shutdown, Sleep, Restart or Logoff Your Computer Using the Keyboard

Keyboard ShortcutsDid you know that there are built in keyboard shortcuts that you can use to shutdown, sleep, restart or logoff your Windows computer?  Well, there are, and they are good to remember in the event the mouse becomes unresponsive. The keyboard shortcuts differ between Windows XP and Windows Vista/Windows 7; however, the initial key press for all of these shortcuts commands are dependent on the Windows key (which is located to the left of the spacebar that displays the Windows Logo on the key).

For Windows XP:

SHUTDOWN – press the WINDOWS KEY and the letter “U” twice

RESTART – press the WINDOWS KEY, then the letter  “U” once and  then the letter “R” once

LOGOFF – press the WINDOWS KEY and the letter  “L” twice

SLEEP – press the WINDOWS KEY and the letter “U” once and the letter “S” once

For Windows Vista/Windows 7:

SHUTDOWN – press the WINDOWS KEY, then press the RIGHT ARROW key three times and the letter “U” to shut down

RESTART – press the WINDOWS KEY, then press the RIGHT ARROW key three times and the letter “R”

LOGOFF – press the WINDOWS KEY then press the RIGHT ARROW key three times and the letter “L”

SLEEP – press the WINDOWS KEY, then press the RIGHT ARROW key three times and the letter “S”


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Make An Exact Copy of Your Hard Drive

One of the most frustrating moments for any computer user is when your computer has crashed, all else has failed to work, and you forgot to make the restoration CDs (or DVDs) that came with your PC. The restoration CD (or DVD) option is your last ditch solution to fixing your PC when all else has failed. The restoration CDs (or DVDs) typically restore your system back to the day that you purchased it. Some manufacturers’ PCs provide an option to perform (initiate) the restoration process by hitting a key during the computer’s startup that will initiate the restore process by using files stored in a hidden partition on the computer’s hard drive. The restoration process varies from PC manufacturer to manufacturer and if you have a home brewed system, the restoration is typically a reinstall of the operating system using the operating system discs that you purchased. The whole point to this is just that you make sure you have a plan in the event disaster strikes… AND, BELIEVE ME IT WILL !

The problem with the restoration processes provided is that you are in for some work. I’m talking about reinstalling your software, performing your Windows updates, virus/malware software updates, personal customization, bookmarks, emails, etc… Most of the time when you have resorted to a complete restoration or reinstall of the operating system you will lose your valuable data that you may have saved over the months and even years.

One option to avoid all of this, and reduce the workload, is to use disk imaging software and a good external hard drive. Disk Imaging Software is software that you install on your PC and use when your computer is in a healthy state. The disk imaging software is engineered to make a backup (disk image) of an exact representation of your hard drive (or partitions) at the time you perform the imaging process. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your everyday backup software can make an exact copy of your hard drive and partitions. It can’t… The Windows operating system is like a living organism that is constantly evolving and changing when you start it up. Your typical backup software apps are unable to capture those changes. As a matter of fact Windows will not allow you to make a copy of certain critical system files without special software. Your typical backup software is great for backing up your personal files (such as pictures, documents, etc.) and should be used on a daily basis in addition to the imaging software that can be used on a less frequent basis.

As you well know, the What’s On My PC blog specializes in locating FREE software options.  In this case of disk imaging software, the FREE app that I use and recommend is the FREE Edition of Macrium Reflect

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Using Macrium Reflect™ Free Edition you can create an exact image of partitions on your hard disk for easy hard disk upgrade or complete/partial system recovery

Key factors to using imaging software, such as Macrium Reflect, is that when you perform the backup of your system it is critical that your system is in a healthy state and that you have an external source (with sufficient space) to store the image file.  Even though Macrium Reflect offers other backup media options to CD or DVD media, I suggest you use an external drive. Besides, the external drive will serve you in performing your normal daily backups.

Another important factor to using Macrium Reflect is that the first thing you should do is create a Rescue CD. This option is available in the Macrium Reflect software under the “Other Options” menu selection. The rescue CD is used to boot your computer and restore your computer from the image file when disaster occurs.

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For FREE imaging software, Macrium Reflect is a great option for home-based users and is comparable in performance and appearance with that of its’ commercial counterparts. Macrium Reflect is also regularly updated to meet the needs of the ever changing Windows operating system.

Features of the FREE Edition of Macrium Reflect:

Absolutely free! No strings! The only free XP, Vista and Windows 7 compatible disk imaging software with BartPEand Linux based recovery options.

  • Create a disk image whilst running Windows using Microsoft Volume Shadow copy Service (VSS).
  • Image to Network, USB, FireWire drives and DVD.
  • Built in scheduler.
  • 32 bit and native 64 bit versions.
  • Industry leading compression levels and speed.
  • Linux based Rescue CD with Network access and full GUI. Only 6.5MB in size!
  • Built in CD/DVD packet writing engine. Supports packet writing to DVD DL media with Windows Vista.
  • HTML log files.

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Go Incognito with Firefox…

Mozilla Firefox

Did you know that Firefox, the choice browser of the tech community has a Private Browsing Mode built into it?

If you are a Firefox user and you are using Firefox version 3.5 or higher you can easily switch from normal browsing mode to private browsing mode. Many of the other popular browsers also have a private (incognito) browsing mode that you can explore.

When you are normally browsing the internet, Firefox remembers the web sites you have visited, your user names and passwords, your browsing history and more. In other words these browsing morsels become a profile of your browsing habits and of you. When you switch to the  Private Browsing Mode in Firefox, these browsing morsels are not collected and stored on the host computer.

Using Private Browsing Mode, to protect your privacy, is handy when browsing the internet from a friend’s computer or at work. In reverse, you can switch the browser into Private Browsing Mode when someone else is using your computer to prevent extraction of or review of your personal morsels (such as user names, passwords, history, cookies, etc…).

To get into Private Browsing Mode, go to the menu bar (at the top of the browser), click on “Tools”, then “Private Browsing Mode” [ see video ]. You can also perform the hotkey combo of  Ctrl + Shift + P on your keyboard to turn Private Browsing Mode “on or off” .

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Personally, I prefer using the hotkey combination to quickly go in and out of Private Browsing Mode. When you enter the Private Browsing Mode, Firefox will graciously remember any pages or tabs that you have open, so that when you exit from Private Browsing Mode, you are right back where you started.

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You can also depart from Private Browsing Mode by going to the menu bar, click on “Tools”, then “Stop Private Browsing”.  You can also leave Private Browsing Mode by simply closing Firefox, as well.

In a Private Browsing session, Firefox won’t keep any browser history, search history, download history, web form history, cookies, or temporary internet files.  However, files you download and bookmarks you make will be kept. [ click here to see details ]

You can tell when you are in Private Browsing Mode by looking at the Title Bar at the top of the browser window.  It will reflect “Private Browsing – Mozilla Firefox”. Downloading files or saving bookmarks is not affected by Private Browsing Mode.

If you are at another PC, I strongly encourage that you use Firefox and the Firefox Private Browsing Mode to protect your privacy.  If Firefox is not available on the host PC you can use Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition and run it from your flash drive.

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Get the last FREE version of FastStone Capture

A screen capture utility is a “must have” on any PC (or flash drive); especially if you are a writer, blogger, graphic designer, desktop publisher, etc… I have tried and tested many of the capture utilities and the one that has set well with me is “FastStone Capture”.  FastStone Capture went commercial after version 5.3; however, the freeware version is still available at various sites around the internet.  This little utility is a well thought out screen capture utility. It  is no wonder the author opted to go commercial with it.

Before I tell you where you can get FastStone Capture (the last freeware version), let me give you some hightlights. The download that I will refer you to is a download for the portable version that can be installed on your flash drive or into a folder of your choice on your PC. This way, if you do not like it, simply delete the folder; but I’m telling you this little app rocks and is very easy to use.

FastStone Capture uses very little screen space and provides (6) different screen capture modes (see below) that can be activated by clicking one of the mode buttons in the application or by using hotkey combinations on your keyboard.

FastStone_Capture

1. Capture Active Window

2. Capture Window /Object

3. Capture Rectangle Region

4. Capture Freehand Region

5. Capture Full Screen

6. Capture Scrolling Window

With FastStone Capture you have the option of sending the captured result to a built in graphic editor, to the clipboard, to a file, to the printer, or to an email (as an attachment).  The output file can be saved to the most common graphic file formats (e.g. gif, png, bmp, jpg, tif) or as a PDF file. Settings are also available that allow you to auto capture to an edge/watermark or to prompt you each time to assign a caption or label to your captured result.  This little app also features a built-in graphic editor, a screen magnifier and a screen color picker.

If you do not have this app, I suggest you get it now…  You can download FastStone Capture (last freeware version) [ HERE ] .

If you would like to take a look at the paid (current version), CLICK HERE

Kudos to the author of FastStone Capture for making such a wonderful application.


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Microsoft Word – How to ALWAYS create a backup copy…

There is a little known feature in Microsoft Word 2003 and 2007, that by changing a simple default setting, Microsoft Word can automatically create a backup file of your work.

It can be very frustrating when you are working on a document of importance and you lose all your work as a result of a power failure or computer glitch.  This setting change could be your saving grace and prevent a lot of heartache.  When Microsoft Word is set to “Always create backup copy”, a backup copy of a document is created each time you save the document. Each backup copy replaces the previous backup copy. Word adds the phrase “Backup of” to the file name and applies the file extension .wbk to all backup copies. The backup copies are saved in the same folder as your original document.  Note: If you delete the original document without saving it, the backup copy will not include any changes you made since you last saved the document.

Word 2003

To change the setting to “Always create backup copy”

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Save tab.
  2. Select the Always create backup copy check box.

To Open a backup copy of a document

To be able to recover the previous version of your document after a power failure or similar problem, you must have the Always create backup copy check box selected on the Save tab in the Options dialog box (Tools menu) before the problem occurs, and you must have saved the document more than once.

  1. Click Open Button image.
  2. In the Files of type box, click All Files.
  3. If you want to open a backup copy that was saved in a different folder, locate and open the folder.
  4. Click the arrow next to Views Button image, and then click Details.In the Name column, the backup copy name appears as “Backup of document name“; in the Type column, the file type for the backup copy appears as “Microsoft Word Backup Document.”
  5. Locate and then double-click the backup copy to open it.

Note: The backup copies do not carry the typical *.doc file extension, but carries the file extension *.wbk

Word 2007

To change the setting to “Always create backup copy”

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button , and then click Word Options.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. Scroll to the Save section, and then select the Always create backup copy check box.

To Open a backup copy of a document

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button , and then click Open.
  2. In the box next to the File name box on a computer that is running Windows Vista, or in the Files of type box on a computer that is running Microsoft Windows XP, click All Files.
  3. If you want to open a backup copy that was saved in a different folder, locate and open the folder.
  4. Click the arrow next to Views , and then click Details.In the Name column, the backup copy name appears as Backup of document name. In the Type column, the file type for the backup copy appears as Microsoft Word Backup Document.
  5. Locate and double-click the backup copy to open it.
  6. If you want to work with the backup copy as a regular Word document, click the Microsoft Office Button , click Save As, and then type a name for the file in the File Name box.

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