Category Archives: Tech Zone

Auto-Hiding Taskbar in Windows 10 Tablet Mode

Although there is an existing paid-app that automatically hides the taskbar in tablet mode, I wished for more functionalities. In particular, I want the taskbar to hide in landscape mode where vertical space is precious, but not in portrait mode where there is plenty of vertical space. I ended up writing a little application to get what I need.

Features of the application:

  • Auto-hide taskbar can be turned on or off independently for each combination of tablet mode and screen orientation.
  • Install for all users.
  • Free and open source.

The application can be downloaded here:

Screenshot 2015-10-17 02.28.29

PowerPoint Multi-Display Setting Fix

PowerPoint係簡報開始時會轉成extend screen,但完結後就唔會轉返轉頭。唔想咁樣,可以點樣?
If you find PowerPoint 2013’s habit of changing multi-display setting without changing back annoying. How to fix this issue?

Change the following registry key:

If you do not like editing registry yoyurself, you can create a file that fix the issue for you:

Extending the Functions of Windows 10’s Cortana

Screenshot 2015-08-13 23.47.46

Cortana, the digital assistant that comes with Windows 10, is Microsoft’s answer to Apple Siri and Google Now. It is quite capable, but there are times when I wish it has more features. For example, I really wanted to be able to lock my computer with a single voice command, but Cortana does not have this function built in. Fortunately, it is possible to extend Cortana’s function. To do so, we make use of the fact that Cortana searches through the start menu shortcuts when you say the keyword “open” or “launch”.

Here are the steps to create a command to lock your computer:

1. Create a shortcut in an accessible location such as the desktop. This can be achieved by pressing the right mouse button and select [New]->[Shortcut].

2. For the location of the item, enter: %SystemRoot%\System32\rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation

3. Give the shortcut a natural name, which is what Cortana will look for when you speak to her. Since Cortana utilitizes natural language processing, it is much better at recognizing phrases that actually make sense.

4. Copy the newly created shortcut to: %SystemDrive%\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs. You will need administrative privileges to complete this step.

If all goes well, you should be able to lock your computer by saying “hey Cortana, open lock computer”.

You can create similar commands to hibernate or sleep your computer. Just change the location of the item accordingly:
Hibernate: %SystemRoot%\System32\rundll32.exe Powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState Sleep
Sleep: You need PSTools from Microsoft ( Set item location as: [Location of PSTools]\psshutdown.exe -d -t 0

Another thing you can do is to create a command to open a website. You might think that this would be as simple as adding an internet shortcut to the start menu, but turns out it is more complicated than that: while Cortana keeps a record of internet shortcuts created through installation of programs, she does not do so with ones that are added manually. Furthermore, she does not index shortcuts that have non-executable extensions, meaning that you cannot use “chrome.exe”, because this would be recognized as having a “.com” extension.

Here is how to get around this issue:
1. Create a text file and type in it “start ” followed by the URL you want to open.
2. Change the extension of the text file to “.bat”
3. Create a shortcut that points to the file you just created and follow the aforementioned steps.

For example, I have created a shortcut called “Gmail” that points to a “Gmail.bat” that executes “start”. With this, Cortana would open Gmail with my computer’s default browser when I say “Hey Cortana, open Gmail”.

Upon creating the shortcuts, you might notice that the default icon is quite uninformative. You can pick a better one after you created the shortcut by right-clicking on the icon, click [Properties], followed by clicking [Change Icon…]. Enter one of the following in “Look for icons in this file” textbox, where you should find a lot of icons to choose from:

So here you go, try it out!

Screenshot 2015-08-13 23.38.25

Setting up a Large-Format 4K Office Monitor


Due to space contraints in the department, several colleagues and I had to move into smaller offices. With the smaller desk I concluded that it is no longer ideal to have multiple monitors standing on the desk, and a new solution was needed. I eventually settled on mounting a 49″ 4K television on the wall, and here is what I have learnt in the process.

A 4K display panel has the same number of pixels as four Full HD panels. A 49″ monitor thus give you roughly the same screen estimate as four 24″ Full HD ones. 24″ Full HD monitors are popular in workplace due to their comfortable pixel density for normal office work. A 49″ monitor is similarly comfortable, but with four times the area you essentially never run out of space.

The primary reason why I chose a 49″ unit over smaller ones was my intention to use it for small group presentation. To accommodate this use I have installed a wall mount with a very long arm, allowing me to swing the unit to different positions.




Picking a Model
The primary consider in picking a unit is whether it support a 60hz signal, which is the usual refresh rate for computer screens. This is not easy to achieve—4K 60hz signal requires an HDMI 2.0 connection, which many cheaper units do not have. For those that do support HDMI 2.0, not all support loseless color signal, which is essential for sharp text. Based on user manuals and online forums, here is a partial list of compatibility:

  • LG – The current lineup support 60hz signal and loseless color.
  • Samsung – The current lineup support 60hz signal. Manuals say loseless color is supported, but online forums dispute that claim.
  • Sharp – Only the top of the line models support 60hz signal and loseless color.

Once you find a compatible unit, you need to drive it with a display card. Old display cards most likely cannot drive 4K 60hz. Currently only Nvidia’s newest GTX 9xx series have HDMI 2.0 built-in, and these cards are so huge that they might not fit inside the small cases that are popular these days. For other relatively new cards with DisplayPort you can see if you can find a DP-to-HDMI 2.0 cable, which is rumored to be available but I have never tried one personally.


Modern TV use a variety of techniques to enhance images. These techniques are developed for videos, however, and are unsuitable for monitor purpose. This means you want to turn as many of these features off as possible. The list of features you want to try turning off includes:
Dynamic contrast, dynamic color, automatic black level adjustment, noise reduction, Motion-Eye Care (for LG). For Samsung and LG units at least, these features—plus some others than you cannot control manually–are turned off when you label the input as “PC”. You can test whether you are settings things right by opening the this image in 100% size. If all the text including the blue one is sharp and crispy, you are good.

Limitations and Additional Thoughts
There are a couple of drawbacks in using televisions as monitors. First, they usually have glossy screen, which is not ideal for office work. Second, the glass panel is a lot thicker than typical computer monitor, and with the screen being so large, some pixels at the edges will be blocked by the glass itself. The second issue can be overcome by using the newest curved televisions from Samsung and LG, but those are a lot more expensive than their flat counterparts.


One more issue to consider is whether you need a smart TV. Smart TV provides a lot of functionalities, but with the unit being connected to a computer all the time you might not need most of them, and ‘dump’ 4K televisions are significantly cheaper than their smart counterparts.

Total Cost
LG UF6750 UHD TV: HK$6400 (comes with gifts worth approx. HK$200)
Wall mount with 60cm arm: HK$300
MSI Nvidia GTX960 display card: HK$1600
Grand Total: HK$8300 (US$1070)

Microsoft has Windows 10 Enterprise Edition’s download link mixed up with Enterprise LTSB Edition’s one. I guess they must have been too busy to check whether the links they post up were correct or not.

Given how rarely-used MMS are in practice, I would suggest simply following the recommended remedy of turning of “auto-retrival”of MMS messages in the settings menu of your messaging app.