Windows 10 Virtual Desktops vs PTFB Pro

Well Windows 10 is here, and though it’ll be a while before I let it loose on my development PC, I will admit that I’m taking a liking to it on my laptop and other PCs. One of it’s best new features for me is the virtual desktop facility. If you haven’t heard much about virtual desktops on Windows 10, have a quick read through this explanatory article:

http://www.howtogeek.com/197625/how-to-use-virtual-desktops-in-windows-10/

The bottom line is this: if you have a lot of windows open while you work and could use some help to keep them organized, then virtual desktops really are a boon! But wait.. how do they work with PTFB Pro’s automatic macro and button-clicking stuff?

Well it turns out they work really well, especially if you remember to turn on one of PTFB Pro’s handy little options. The option I’m talking about is “Restore Active Window”, and you’ll find it on the General page of Single Press and Macro properties:

RestoreActiveWindow

Why is this handy? Well let’s say you have two desktops open. You’re currently working in desktop #2, when suddenly a disruptive popup appears on desktop #1 which you’ve set PTFB Pro to handle. PTFB Pro quickly switches to desktop #1, handles the popup window and then, *if* you’ve got “Restore Active Window” set, it automatically switches you straight back to desktop #2 where you can continue working. Without “Restore Active Window”, you’d just stay on desktop #1.

Now bear in mind that the “Restore Active Window” option was added long before there was any talk of Windows 10 or virtual desktops, so I’m going to give myself a little pat on the back for forward thinking. And I’m also going to give Microsoft some major respect for implementing the virtual desktop feature so well, because they really have done a great job here.

Removing the Windows 10 upgrade nag

As Windows 10 approaches its first release, Microsoft has begun pushing eligible Win7 users to “reserve their upgrade”. Admittedly the little nag is subtle – a white Windows icon in the system tray – but it’s a persistent little thing.

Win10Nag

Windows Vista, 7 and up will automatically hide other system tray icons unless you explicitly tell it not to, but it leaves this one alone. And if you use the Customize Notification Area Options screen to hide it – as most online advice tells you to do – it’ll just come right back the next time you boot your PC. That’s right; Windows’ own method for getting rid of annoying tray icons does not work (permanently) on the Windows 10 nag.

Yes it’s a small thing, but I don’t like it, and getting rid of it is easy with PTFB Pro, as follows.

Step 1: Open up PTFB Pro and create a new ProgMon Macro

ProgMon

Step 2: Scroll down and select the “GWX.exe” process. That’s the little critter behind the Windows 10 nag icon. Click Next once you’ve got it selected.

ProgMon2

Step 3: Choose the action, which in this case is “Force the program to exit”. Click Next once more and choose the method of execution; “Request Quit” will do just fine but if you’re feeling vindictive you can use “Forced Exit”. Click Finish, and you’re done.

ProgMon4

As soon as you put PTFB Pro to work by clicking Start Watching, the Windows 10 nag is history. As long as PTFB Pro is running (and you can set it to autostart on boot) you’ll never see that nag again. And it’s no great loss, because if you’re like me, you’re only going to install Windows 10 on an a work computer when two crucial criteria are met:

  • Windows 10 has been out long enough to have the huge list of initial bugs and driver problems corrected by patches and maybe service pack 1
  • There’s an option to do a clean install, because upgrade install just never go well

That’s just one small way in which PTFB Pro can get rid of daily nuisances in Windows. Once you’ve tried PTFB Pro you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it, and you can try it free for 30 days here:

http://www.ptfbpro.com/download.shtml

Per item notification email addresses in PTFBPro 4.7.2

By popular request a new version of PTFBPro is now available on our download page. It adds the ability to override the delivery email address(es) for notifications on a per-item basis. To put it another way, you can now have the bulk of your macros send emails to a default set addresses whenever they fire autonomously, but set up certain others to send to a different set of addresses. Here’s how you use it:

1.Enable the override

Open up PTFB Pro’s configuration screen (Options -> Configure) and switch to the email tab. Tick the “Allow item override” option in the Recipients section:

AllowOverride

2. Provide alternative addresses as needed

Now just edit a macro/press item that needs to send notifications to different recipients. Switch to the Notifications page, press the new button titled “Recipients” and enter the required address (separate multiple addresses with a semicolon):

OverrideRecipients

And that’s all there is to it

If you haven’t used PTFB Pro’s notification facility yet, don’t forget that it’s there if you ever need it. As you can see it can send an email when a macro fires automatically, but it can also run a command line of your choosing, play a sound, or simply make a note in its text log.

Copy as Path – a hidden gem in Windows 7 and up!

There’s a hidden gem in Windows 7 onwards which copies a file’s full path directly to the clipboard. I know this isn’t directly related to PTFB Pro or macros in any way, but I just discovered it and I find it hugely useful, so I wanted to share it. Here’s how it works:

  1. In a file window, hold down the SHIFT key while right-clicking a file
  2. The resulting popup (context) menu will now contain a new option called “Copy as path”
  3. Select Copy as path get the full path to the file into the clipboard. And what’s more, if the path contains spaces it puts quotes around it automatically.

Copy as path

There you go. Hope you find it as handy as I do!

PTFBPro on Windows 10

Obviously I’ve been following the news of Microsoft’s upcoming OS, Windows 10. I’m part of the preview program and have been installing some of their latest builds, and I have to say, it looks like it truly is going to be a huge improvement over Windows 8/8.1 (which was, let’s face it, a disaster in many, many ways). I’ll be posting more on Win 10 in due course, but for now I’d like to share this little screenshot:

PTFB Pro on Windows 10

That’s the current version of PTFB Pro (v4.7.1.1) running very happily on the Windows 10 preview. Obviously the new Windows is till very much a moving target at the moment, but rest assured that PTFB Pro will be ready for it when it goes on public release.

FileZilla Update Notifications

FileZilla is a truly great piece of software. I’ve been using it for all my FTP transfers for years now and it’s never let me down; in fact, over time it’s got faster and more dependable. BUT.. I can’t help but be irritated by its update notification dialog:

FileZilla

To be fair you can configure how frequently FileZilla checks for updates, but thing is, once it finds an update, it’ll bug you relentlessly every time you launch the program until you relent and upgrade. Many times I’m in a rush and I just want to get my file transfer done; I’d rather leave the update for a time when I’m in less of a hurry. There’s no option for that in FileZilla, but with PTFB Pro, I was able to make one using a Single Press Item:

FZ-Press#1

The Single Press quickly dismisses the notification via its Close button..

FZ-Press#2

But as it does this, it takes a screenshot of the notification and mails it to me…

This basically converts the update dialog into an update email; the dialog disappears so fast it doesn’t interrupt my workflow, while the email sits there in my inbox (with a screenshot detailing what the update provides) as a reminder for when I have the time to actually apply the update.

This is one small example of how PTFB Pro can help lessen the irritations of working on a computer, and goes right back to what the acronym PTFB stands for: Push The Freakin’ Button! Grab a copy of PTFB from the download page now – you get a free trial for 30 days, and unlike most software these days, it’s installer is very lightweight (no huge package of runtime libraries or other bloat).

 

PTFB Pro 4.7.1 – Better For New Users

If you haven’t updated your copy of PTFB Pro for a while, now would be a good time. The previous release, 4.7, added some useful tweaks to make all edit screens retain their last-used position, and an advanced option to respect process session boundaries (great for machines with multiple active user accounts). It also had a little workaround to help tackle an old “stuck tray icon” problem that was really Microsoft’s fault, but hey, if they can’t fix it, someone has to fix it for them! Today’s new release adds another little fix to do with tight repeat loops around “forced delay” commands in macros, but its biggest change is actually a small tweak to the defaults for new users.

Up until now, PTFB Pro has always defaulted to require an exact match between a target window and the “snapshot” it takes when a macro or single-press item is created. This was for safety reasons; it left very little chance that PTFB Pro would act on the wrong window. Unfortunately, it also meant that PTFB Pro would routinely ignore any window that was ever so slightly different from one appearance to the next. The workaround for this was usually to edit the item you’d created and switch from “Strict” window contents checking to “Simple” checking, but for a new user just trying to get on with their work, this was often an unwelcome extra step. In fact if I were to check through our support history, I’d probably find that the vast majority of requests related to this very issue.

All that changes with 4.7.1 because now, “Simple” contents checking is the default. This should mean that more single presses and macros will work straight away without any tweaking, which will definitely improve the “out of the box” experience for new users. It’s worth noting though that this change won’t affect you if you already have PTFB Pro installed – it’ll keep your current defaults and operate just as it always has. Don’t forget though that seasoned PTFB Pro users as well as newbies are free to change the defaults for new items via Options -> Configure -> Defaults page.

That’s about it for this release, except to say that if you’re quick, you can pick up cheap a license for PTFB Pro in our Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale via the 40% off link below. Maybe you need an extra license of your favorite macro and button pusher, or maybe you’ve just downloaded our installer for the very first time. Either way, now is the time to buy!

https://sites.fastspring.com/tlhouse/instant/ptfbpro?coupon=BLACK2014

 

Find out more about saving time and finger-wear with PTFB Pro’s macros.
CLICK HERE to download a free 30 day trial, no strings attached. If you aren’t entirely happy simply uninstall!

PTFB Pro v4.6.2 Preserves Selections Across Sessions

The latest release of PTFB Pro, v4.6.2.0, now preserves selections across sessions. In other words, if you select an item then quit PTFB Pro (or restart your PC), when PTFB Pro launches again the same item(s) will still be selected. This is a small change, but it should be very welcome particularly for people who like to trigger their macros using the “Run Now” button (or the Run Now shortcut they’ve defined).

To update to the latest version please visit the PTFB Pro download page: http://www.ptfbpro.com/download.shtml

Cyberweek 50% Discount: Coupon CYBER2013

From Monday 2nd Dec 2013 to Friday 6th (inclusive) we’re running a Cyberweek promotion with 50% of all our products, including PTFB Pro. So if you’d like to get a half-price license for PTFB Pro, or try out one of our other products, NOW IS THE TIME!

Use the coupon code “CYBER2013” at the checkout stage to get your discount. The position of the coupon field varies from product to product so keep an eye out for it; it is there!

As I mentioned the same coupon works for our other products too. So you can get tabbed, helpful command prompts with PromptPal, generate pleasing color schemes and try them out on a live webpage without any coding using ColorCache, and be alerted about errors and warnings on all PCs in your network with LogMeister and EventMeister, all at half price using the same coupon code.

Finally, I’m happy to report that PTFB Pro helped me to get a Black Friday / Cyberweek discount of my own. I saw a good deal on Amazon for the two recent Star Trek movies on bluray. Unfortunately I was a bit slow adding them to the shopping cart and discovered that the deal was already fully taken; I was stuck at position 103 in the queue, with little chance of getting my videos! Undeterred, I set up PTFB Pro to keep clicking away on the page every 1/3 sec exactly where the “Add to cart” button would be if someone backed out of their purchase, and went for a coffee. By the time I got back to my desk PTFB Pro had bagged the movies for me! They arrived this morning; just need to get some popcorn for a night of Trek indulgence!