How to keep the task bar visible when using a maximised RDP client

I use RDP a lot now, but would like to be able to see my own PC’s task bar, for instance Outlook may show messages.
It is possible, with thanks to:


  1. Edit your .RDP file using Remote Desktop Client, making sure the “Display” tab is configured for “Full Screen”, and then “Save” the .RDP file again (this bakes your local resolution into the file, which is important)
  2. Edit the .rdp in notepad:
    1. screen mode id:i:2  – change this line to the following, to use windowed mode instead of fullscreen
      screen mode id:i:1
    2. Add this line to the file if it doesn’t exist already:
      smart sizing:i:1
    3. Change nothing about (but take notice of) two lines that talk about “desktopwidth” and “desktopheight”
  3. Save and close the .RDP file



Device and Resource Redirection

Audio redirection

  1. Run
  2. Type “group” to open Edit group policy
  3. Local computer policy
  4. Computer configuration
  5. Administrative Templates
  6. Windows Components
  7. Remote Desktop Services
  8. Remote Desktop Session Host
  9. Device and Resource Redirection
  10. Allow Audio and video playback redirection
  11. Change from Not Configured to Enabled.




Fix Sony Vaio sound – No speaker or headphones are plugged in

Has happened a couple of times on my Sony Vaio

Diagnosis – This post fixes this issue

  1. Red cross against sound volume in notification tray
  2. Also inspect > Windows Key > Sound >
    • Playback > Only one playback device shown – for me that was “Digital Audio (HDMI) High Definition Audio Device – Not plugged in”
    • Recording > “No Audio Device is installed”
  3. Clicking on the sound icon and asking it to detect and resolve problems does not work.

Solution 1 – Try first because it is quicker and less disruptive

Put in headphones and then click on sound icon in notification tray.
Detecting problems may then resolve the matter and put back in the speakers “Default Device”

Solution 2

In MSConfig find the service or startup that is stopping the sound from working
Possible Catalyst Control Center
Possibly Sony Vaio Event Manager or something of that ilke.

Solution 3

Solved by installing driver from here:

This got my sound back, but I lost my Aero themes. Got this back after just a little more work. Putting following into a FixAero.reg file and installing may have helped. And a second restart after.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

“UseMachineCheck”=dword:00000000 “Blur”=dword:00000000 “Animations”=dword:00000000

Solution 4

Use msconfig and change to Normal Startup will fix it, but lose the Aero theme.


Note: After my laptop started working again, the Program and Features showed that “Realtex High Definition Audio Driver” was installed in the last days.


Windows 7 top tips

Sure there are many web pages discussing this. This is my quick run-down.

  1. Snipping Tool – Press Windows Key and type “snip ” until it is first option – or pin it to the task bar
  2. Drag window away from its full screen lock without using restore first
  3. Drag a window so that the cursor hits the left/right edge of screen at which point the window will snap left/right. Do this with two windows and you can compare two documents.
  4. Press the Windows Key and start typing to find documents, programs, control panel items. E.g. Windows Key > “Program and” and you  will get you “Programs and Features” and press return
  5. Sticky Notes – some people like them I don’t use them
  6. Number of Start Menu options. Right-click on task bar > Properties > Start Menu > Customize
    1. Use Large Icons – generally tick off
    2. Recent Items – generally tick on
    3. Show Video/Printers and many other options on/off
  7. Use Pin to Start Menu / Task Bar
  8. Put Office Programs on the Task Bar and then use Jump Lists by right-clicking them
    1. Pin your most common items to jump lists
    2. Note Jump Lists do very occasionally get forgetful. There is a sophisticated way of backing these up, beyond most normal working
  9. Drag and drop items around the Task Bar


If you find others then please comment and I can add them to the main article here.

Or links to pages that list these out.




Failed to connect to a windows service – Group Policy Client

Error on start-up of windows:

“Failed to connect to a windows service
Windows could not connect to the Group Policy Client service. This problem prevents standard users from logging on to the system.
As an administrative user, you can review the System Event Log for details about why the service didn’t respond”

Group Policy on login 2013-01-10

This also does not start a service:

Group Policy Service Not started 2013-06-12


Resolved with thanks to SQL-ER:


“The crash of your computer during Windows Updates may have caused that !

I had this issue on my laptop since November, and it really bugged me.  I sifted through the event log and found the pattern of events that preceded the issue, and, probably, caused it.
In short, the pattern is as follows: Windows updates run automatically as scheduled, and when reboot is initiated after the updates are finished, the computer crashes (probably during reboot sequence).  When it boots up, it reports that the last shutdown was unexpected, and the issue begins to occur.
I spent 2 days trying to dig out a solution from the Internet, to no avail, until I came across this page.  It doesn’t say anything about this particular problem, but it gives more information about SVCHOST process that starts many services, including Group Policy Client.  It looks like during reboot a vital registry settings were lost during crash and Group Policy Client “don’t know” how to start.  Let me explain:
There are two places to look in the registry:

  1. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services this path should contain gpsvc key (a folder), which is responsible for service parameters and configuration.  I found that the key was intact, so, you do not touch anything here – just check that the key exists.
  2. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SVCHOST This is the most important path you should look into, as it must contain the keys and values referred in the key #1.  Below are descriptions what must be present there.
  • There must be Multi-String value called GPSvcGroup. My laptop was missing it.  So, you should create multi-string value named GPSvcGroup and assign it value GPSvc.
  • Next, you must create a key (a folder) and name it GPSvcGroup – this key normally should be there, but, again, it was missin on my laptop.
  • Then open newly-created GPSvcGroup folder and create 2 DWORD values:
  1. First called AuthenticationCapabilities and you must give it a value of 0x00003020 (or 12320 in decimal)
  2. Second is called CoInitializeSecurityParam and it must have value of 1.

Once you complete all steps above, reboot the computer and the problem will be fixed.

Video walkthrough for those who are not very technical is here:

I am so relieved I was able to fix it, and hope this will help others with the similar issue.”













The file or directory is corrupt and non-readable. (possibly in Visual Studio and TFS Build broke)

Problem found

<drive>:\<folder> is not accessible    The file or directory is corrupt and non-readable.The file or directory is corrupt and non-readable. The file or directory \<folder> is corrupt and unreadable.    Please Run the Chkdsk utility.

Was causing build to fail. Some how system had created a badly named file RoqteOpsData where the q should have been a u


Attempt to repair the damaged file, folder or file system index using Chkdsk. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. In the Open box, type chkdsk /f <drive>:,   where <drive> is the letter of the drive on which the damaged file,   folder or file system index exists.
  3. Click OK.

How do I… open a cmd prompt at a specified location

  1. Create a shortcut to cmd
  2. Change the Start In to the location you desire
  3. There are other methods

How do I… open windows explorer at a pre-set location

Create a shortcut to Windows explorer (probably on your desktop)
Add /e,C:\Windows to the end of the shortcut

Windows 7 Homegroup – Blocked by McAffee – Also how to set-up

I set up Windows 7 Homegroup on my PC and was able to see this from my laptop.
However I was unable to see my PC from my laptop.
After some reading decided to remove my almost redundant McAffee from my laptop. As soon as I did this Homegroup started working. As did remote connections to SQL Server.

New Problem 12th July 2012

Not able to see PC HomeGroup folders on laptop. Solution was to set up a Library on PC and then Share with for this library – rather than direct on folder

How do I … join a network domain using windows

To login to a work network

  1. Start > Computer > Right-click > Properties
  2. Change Settings > First tab is Computer Name > Bottom button is Change >
  3. Member of – select toggle button on Domain > Enter Name of Domain > Need to login to that domain > may need to restart

Once you have joined the domain you can use explorer address bar to type \\ <domain name> \ shared directory path

To login back in to home

  1. Start > Computer > Right-click > Properties
  2. Change Settings > First tab is Computer Name > Bottom button is Change >
  3. Member of – select Workgroup > normal name is “WORKGROUP”