Tag Archives: Windows

Red Alert 3 – Black screen on startup

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If you’ve just installed Red Alert 3 on Windows 7 then you may be presented with a simple black screen on startup, that just freezes there.

  1. Navigate to the Data folder, ie. C:/Program Files/Electronic Arts/Red Alert 3/Data
  2. Rename the Movies folder to “Movies.renamed”
  3. Start up the game
  4. Set your resolution to the same as your desktop
  5. Apply the settings and quit the game
  6. Rename the Movies directory back to “Movies”
  7. Start up the game and it should work


Disable NTFS last access time

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Small increase in performance by having NTFS not note down the time of each file access.

  ntfs-disable-last-access-time.reg (150 bytes, 1,791 hits)

Enable or Disable a user account from command prompt

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In a domain environment you can enforce logon times for individual users, I wanted to emulate this behaviour in a workgroup.

To do this first I learnt the following commands in command prompt [cmd] (run as Administrator):

To disable: net user Bob /active:no
To enable: net user Bob /active:yes

I then created 2 tasks in Task Scheduler to disable and enable at the appropriate times.

When creating the tasks its important to note:

  • Run with highest privileges
  • Run even when user not logged on
  • The path to the “net” command is “C:\Windows\System32\net.exe”
  • The rest of the command line goes in the arguments box

This helped to discourage my son from waking up at 4am to play Plants vs Zombies™ on the computer.

Add Google UK search to Firefox

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I upgraded to Firefox 4 and found the default google search was sending me to google.com. This meant US shopping results in dollars, amongst other things.

In your Firefox directory,

C:\Program Files\Firefox or C:\Program Files (x86)\Firefox


You will find a folder called “searchplugins“. In there is google.xml

Make a copy of this and edit the contents so that each mention of “google.com” changes to “google.co.uk”. Also change the title (ShortName) from “Google” to “Google UK”.

In linux this is easy,
sed -e 's/google.com/google.co.uk/g; s/ShortName>Google/ShortName>Google UK/' google.xml | tee google-uk.xml

In windows it maybe a little more tricky as UAC gets in the way. The easiest way to do it, is to copy google.xml to your desktop, rename it to google-uk.xml, open it in notepad, make the changes and move it back.

Alternatively you can download google-uk.xml from here and place it in the searchplugins folder and restart Firefox.

  google-uk.xml (2.3 KiB, 1,655 hits)