Monday, 7 March 2011

HOWTO: Making Windows usable and avoiding accidental sending of mails in Microsoft Outlook

I've changed jobs recently and after 5 years of not having to work with a Windows system I am having all sorts of adaptation-to-Windows problems at the new job.

First I just had to have the usual X-mouse behaviour and so I installed True X-Mouse Gizmo for Windows. This provides focus under mouse, middle click paste after select (not perfect, but it works), right click to push to bottom the window.

Second I had to have a virtual desktop, so I installed Microsoft's Virtual Desktop Manager from the PowerToys page. I tried another virtual desktop manager before using MSVDM, but I found it too clumsy so I switched to MSVDM which I knew from way back when I used Windows the last time. Good, now I can have my applications organised the way I am used to.

I gave up on MSVDM in favour of Virtual Dimension since I wasn't able to send a particular window to the intended desktop unless I had in the taskbar all apps visible (Shared Desktop option). I might try other suggestions (Virtual Dimension does not have a way to send a window directly to a specific desktop, but just to the neighbours of the current one.)

Third, I had to make Caps Lock work as Ctrl. I just can't go back to an inferior setup. I found information on this page and ended up at this page from where I got a zip file with various registry keys which allow the deactivation of caps, or turning it into another Ctrl.

Fourth, I am used to write with diacritics in Romanian with the secondary layout of the standard (SR 13392:2004), so I rushed to Cristian Secară's page for the keyboard driver since on XP the Romanian layout is retarded (some history in which some arbitrary German guy decided y and z had to be switched on Romanian keyboards and some other similarly weird stuff). Since the installation, my keyboard behaves according to this layout:

Things started to look well, but I soon was reminded that Outlook is an idiotic mailer since it doesn't require a confirmation on send, not even if you didn't set a subject. And this is problematic since sending the mail is done via Alt+S, so if the current layer is NOT Romanian, when I want to type „ș” (s with a comma below), a fairly common character in Romanian words, you end up looking like an idiot on the recipient side since they receive an incomplete mail. Remember, no confirmation AND no default spell checking before send. Yay!

At my second such accidental mail sending (of which the last two were sent to the same person), I decided to see if this can't be fixed. I initially looked for changing the short cut, but I couldn't find it (I might be inept at finding things in Windows, remember, I haven't touched Windows systems in the last 5 years) but I found another workaround and decided it's good enough to share with other people that might hit the problem.

Just setup a delay rule following these steps.
1. Go to Tools....Rules Wizard
2. Click 'New' Rule
3. Select "Check messages after sending"
4. Click Next on "Which conditions you want to Check?" dialog.
5. Press yes to "This Rule will be applied to every message" message box
6. In the "What do you want to do with message?" dialog, Select "Defer delivery by a number of minutes"
7. Select your favourite number of minutes.... I usually select 2 mins.
8. Select Finish. and close the Rules Wizard.

Now everytime you send an email it will sit in your outbox
for specified number of minutes. If you ever wanted to change it, delete it etc, You have sufficient time to do it :)

I used 3 minutes for the delay. At least now I can prevent looking retarded in front of people... more than necessary :D .

Oh, and Windows' clock display is retarded. It shows, by default, the hour and minutes, but there's no way to change that in a sane way. If you want the date, you must hover over the clock and it shows it, but the day of week is missing. Great job! You can see that information, too, but you have to drag the toolbar to be 2 or even 3 rows high (here it requires 2, but I've seen people saying they needed 3) to get that information, too. Great! One has to choose between wasting desktop real estate and having access to useful information. Or you could install an independent application for the clock... retarded. I am not making this shit up.

I hope this helped.


Thomas Koch said...

Is the situation in Romania really that bad, that you needed to accept a windows job?

ओंकार (Onkar) said...

The most annoying problem I have encountered in my day to day work with Windows is that touchpad is not disabled while I am working with keyboard. So many times the letters suddenly start appearing at the position mouse cursor is.
Apart from this I always miss grep, find, terminal and other powerful utilities.

Igor said...

Eddy, you might want to try these: Divvy, Winmover, SendToBack, Dexpot.

Anonymous said...

I can't live without WizMouse: "Makes your mouse wheel behave the way it always should have."

Anonymous said...

Another alternative to Winmover mentioned by Igor is AltDrag which worked quite well for me so far, even for cmd-windows.

Anonymous said...

To fix the clock display on XP I'm using TClockEx:

StephenC. said...

Hello, for virtual desktops in Windows I've been using VirtuaWin

Anonymous said...

To show the clock and date, you can unlock the taskbar, pull it up into a double layer taskbar. The date/time will show up nicely. If you are using Windows Vista/Win 7, just put a date/time widget on the desktop.

Eddy said...

@last anonymous: Thank you Captain Obvious. Did you got that information from my article?

Jan Hudec said...

Ad clock: Now that all monitors are wide, I prefer to put the panel on the right side (just unlock and drag it). That way the clock has enough time, so it shows day of week and date.

Anonymous said...

@Eddy, Ooops, my mistake for didn't read properly. Partly the mixed up of "taskbar" with "toolbar" in the article created some confusion to me... ;-)

From: Captain Obvious.