2zz.org Is Now a Verified Brave Creator!

I am proud to announce that 2zz.org is now a verified Brave Creator! You can now send tips in BAT (Basic Attention Token) to the website using the Brave Browser.

Here is a guide on how to send tips using Brave: https://support.brave.com/hc/en-us/articles/360021123971-How-do-I-tip-websites-and-Content-Creators-in-Brave-Rewards-

Users can earn BAT through the Brave Rewards Program by simply downloading and using the Brave Browser. Refer to this link for more information: https://brave.com/brave-rewards/

Hope to see you on Brave soon, and thank you for your continued support of 2zz.org!

 

How to Get Free Microsoft Certifications

In order to get a certification from Microsoft, you will need to pass a Microsoft proctored exam. These exams typically cost around $100 each, which can be very costly for students and beginners just starting to work on their certifications. Here are some methods on how to get free Microsoft certifications.

1. Attend a Microsoft Virtual Training Day

Microsoft offers virtual training days, which are one or two day sessions led by a Microsoft expert. Not only do you get to learn about the latest Microsoft tools and technology, typically attending one of these sessions will give you a voucher to take a Microsoft certification exam for free! Be sure to register well in advance as these sessions fill up fast, although Microsoft offers many sessions throughout the year on a variety of topics. When registering, look for text saying the exact exam that you will be able to take for free upon completing the training. Remember, if no exam is listed then you will not receive an exam voucher.

2. Participate in a Microsoft Ignite Cloud Skills Challenge

Once a year (example from 2021) Microsoft hosts an event called the Microsoft Ignite Cloud Skills Challenge. All participants will receive a free certification exam, regardless of how they did during the challenge. Be sure to register to claim your free exam.

3. See if your Employer is Participating in the Enterprise Skills Initiative

You might be able to get free Microsoft certifications from your employer through the Enterprise Skills Initiative. Check with your employer if they are participating. If so, you will be able to login to the Enterprise Skills Initiative portal with your work account and access free Microsoft certification exams.

Customize Folder Background and Icons

There are many tweaks you can do to Windows, and Customizing Folder Background and Icons is one of them. Here is how to do just that.

Choose a File to Show on the Folder Icon

The default folder icon background is a thumbnail preview of the things inside. However, this can be customized and changed to your liking. First, right-click the folder that you want to change the icon background. Select Properties. Click the Customize tab, and click Choose File under Folder Pictures. Browse and find the file you want to show on the folder icon. After selecting the picture, click Ok.

Change the Icon of your Folder

Another thing you might want to do is completely change the icon of a folder from a folder to something else. First, right-click the folder that you want to change and click Properties. Go to the Customize tab, and click on Change Icon under Folder Icons. Select an icon from the list, or click on Browse and choose the new icon that you want applied. Click Ok in the Change Icon Window, and click Ok on the properties window to save your new icon.

Use a Background Picture for your Folder

Believe it or not, you can set a picture to be the background of the folder when you open it or change the way the text is shown. First download this nifty piece of software released by The Windows Club here. Unzip and run the program as an administrator. Select the folder that you want to add a background image to. Then click on Change Background Image and select which image that you want to use. To change your text color, click the box next to Text Color and customize it to your liking. After you do all configuration that you want to, close the application to apply your settings to the folder.

GitHub Student Developer Pack Review and Item Ranking

If you are a student, GitHub actually offers something called the Student Developer Pack that has a collection of free tools and services that you can use for personal projects. There are dozens of freebies to collect in the pack, neatly grouped by category. To be eligible for the Student Developer Pack, you need to meet the criteria listed here:

  • Be currently enrolled in a degree or diploma granting course of study such as a high school, secondary school, college, university, homeschool, or similar educational institution
  • Have a verifiable school-issued email address or upload documents that prove your current student status
  • Have a GitHub user account (Which is free)
  • Be at least 13 years old
  • Source

I highly recommend any student to check out the Student Developer Pack. The items in the pack are worth hundreds of dollars, and can definitely help you get a jumpstart with your personal projects or career. Here are some of items that I found most useful:

1. Domains

The GitHub Developer Pack offers free domains, which can be used to setup websites, blogs, or even custom email. Some notable examples are a free .me domain from Namecheap for 1 year, and a free .tech domain for 1 year.

2. Cloud

Servers aren’t cheap, and cloud services are no exception. The GitHub Developer Pack offers free cloud services that can be used for any purpose. Use these to setup things like websites, blogs, or even game servers (Minecraft!). Pair your free cloud environment with the free domain (above) that you got from the pack. Some notable examples are a $100 credit to DigitalOcean, and a $100 credit for Microsoft Azure.

3. Developer Tools

The pack offers some great tools that you can use to help develop and code your projects. These tools are generic, so regardless of what you are working on (eg. game development, IoT, AI/Machine Learning) you can use these tools to help accelerate your work. Some notable examples are free GitHub Pro (for as long as you are a student), and free private Travis CI builds (for as long as you are a student). GitHub Pro is great as it gives you access to almost all the features available on GitHub.

 

How to Reduce Your Internet Bill

If you don’t have an internet connection, or just don’t feel like coughing up the money for something you only use once a week, here is how you can get free or cheap internet.

Number 1: Find a Free Wireless Connection (Wifi)

Finding free wifi is now easier than ever. Many businesses, such as cafes and coffee shops, now offer free wifi: look for any signs or flyers advertising this. Some places that you may be able to find free wifi could be the local public library, Barnes and Noble, McDonald’s, the airport, university campus, independent coffee shop, or hotel lobby. However, not all airports or hotels or even campuses offer free wifi, so be sure to ask around to find out if yours does.

Number 2: Share a Neighbors or Roommates Wireless Connection

Often a search for wireless networks in the neighborhood brings up some of your neighbors wireless networks. Ask your neighbors for permission to use their wifi. If your neighbor says yes, consider offering to pay a share of the internet bill as a way to say thank you.

If you have roommates, consider getting one internet connection for everyone to share. You just need to remember to split the bill.

Final Information

  • Don’t do any banking or online purchases on any unsecured wireless connection because you’re connecting to an unencrypted connection. You never know who is “listening in”- could be a hacker waiting to find out your bank account.
  • Please note that using someone’s wireless network without their permission may be illegal in some areas and you may be subject to consequences.
  • The internet connection probably won’t be fast. It will most likely actually be very slow. Before you get angry, please remember: The internet connection was free. So don’t complain!

Use ReadyBoost to Speed Up Your Computer

Windows includes a feature called ReadyBoost that lets you plug in a flash memory stick or SD card to store commonly used files for quicker access than off the hard drive. This allows for quicker system speed and better computer performance.

Step 1: Navigate to ReadyBoost

Just stick any flash drive, SD card, or whatever flash device you want into your computer. Click “Speed Up My System” on the Autoplay window that pops up.

An alternative method is to navigate to the device in “My Computer” or “This PC” in Explorer, right click the device, and select the ReadyBoost tab.

Step 2: Enable ReadyBoost

Check “Use this device” and set the amount of space you want to use in the window. Windows will create a paging file on the disk, and will use it for faster access to files.

Notes

  • ReadyBoost will only work with USB flash drives or SD cards.
  • When you view your device, you will notice a ReadyBoost file the size you chose before. This will be deleted when you eject your card or flash drive. If you do not eject your flash drive before removing it, the file will still be on there but you can just delete it. ReadyBoost will recreate the cache the next time you use ReadyBoost.
  • System Performance Increase will vary from one computer to another. It all depends on your system.
  • Depending on your system, you may see a message saying that you do not need ReadyBoost as your computer is already fast enough.

Customize The Command Prompt

Tired of the old, white text on a black background command prompt? Want to change it to something more lively? Here is how.

Option 1: Using The Command Prompt

Funny we should be using the command prompt to change the command prompt. Type “cmd” in the search or run box to launch the command prompt. Type the command “color /?” to get a list of all the colors and instructions. So, to get the color you want, enter color then the option for the background color followed by the font color. For example, if you want an old-fashioned green on black look enter “color 02”. You will not be able to set the font and the background to the same color, which would make the command prompt unreadable. If you want to get back the default settings, simply enter the command “color” to restore the plain-old black and white.

Option 2: With a Settings Window

Type “cmd” in the search or run box to launch the command prompt. Click on the Command Prompt icon in the top left corner of the window and select Properties. Select the Colors tab, and then choose the color you want for the screen text and background. If you want, you can also enter your own RGB color combination. Go to the Font tab to change your font. Choose any font you want, as long as it is one of the three options listed. Any customizations you make with the Properties window will be saved, but any customizations you make with the Color command detailed in Option 1 are only for that session.

Convert FAT32 To NTFS Format

If you have a large hard drive formatted as FAT32, you might have found that you can’t copy large files to that drive. How do you fix that? Today I will be showing you how to convert FAT32 to NTFS format, which can handle large files.

Option 1: Convert Directly

Simply run the command prompt as administrator (run “cmd”) and type “convertG: /FS:NTFS” – changing “G” to whatever your drive letter is. The conversion process might take a while, especially if you’ve got a really large drive.

Option 2: Reformat the Drive

(Note: Before attempting this, be sure to have a full copy of the drive’s files to restore later.) All you have to do is right-click on the drive, and select “Format” from the menu. And then select NTFS in the file system drop-down. After the format is complete, just copy your files back to the drive as the format will wipe all data from the drive.

What to do if you Forgot your Windows PC Password

Forgot Your Windows PC Password?

Well don’t just stand there. A free utility, Ophcrack, will be able to find your Windows PC password- assuming it is not an “uncrackable” password. Here is how you use Ophcrack.

Step 1: Download Ophcrack

First you need to go to this website- http://ophcrack.sourceforge.net/download.php?type=livecd– and download the CD version based on which Windows operating system you are trying to crack.

Step 2: Burn Ophcrack

You will end up with an iso file. Now you need to burn the iso file to a CD- For example a CD-R or CD-RW. Download InfraRecorder from http://infrarecorder.org/?page_id=5 and run the exe file to install InfraRecorder. After you finish the Installation Wizard and complete the installation, open up InfraRecorder. (Make sure you are an Administrator as in Windows XP, InfraRecorder doesn’t have access to my CD drive when I am a limited user.) A window will pop up with several options on it. Click “Write Image”, or you can go to Actions>Burn Image on the bar at the top. Browse to your downloaded Ophcrack iso files, and open it. A window will pop up with options on how you want to burn the file. This is when you put the CD in your CD drive. Make sure “Copies” says one, and leave the other options as default. Now a window will pop up with the progress of the burn. Wait for it to finish, and then eject your CD. You are done burning an Ophcrack Live CD!

Step 3: Boot into Ophcrack

Now this should be easy or hard, depending on your computer as all computers are different. You will need to change the boot order of your computer so that the CD drive boots first, instead of your hard drive as usual. On some computers, right when you turn it on, you will see some text saying “Press (a key) to enter or run setup.” Or on some PCs it will say “F12 (Or any other key) for Boot Menu.” Press the key repeatedly, and you will be into the Bios Settings! Use the arrow keys to find the Boot Menu, Advanced Bios Features, Boot Sequence, or Bios Features Setup! Every Menu is different for each computer. Or, if you are lucky and access the Boot Menu, it is only a matter of putting the burned CD in your CD drive, and using the arrow keys to highlight and select CD-Rom Device! Or you can have a boot up screen with NO mention of a setup key or Boot Menu. Of in this case, simply press all the “F” keys on your keyboard rapidly until you find the key that allows you to access the Bios Setup. (This may take several tries until you get it right.)

Once you find and configure the CD Drive to boot first, put the burned CD in your CD Drive and restart your computer.

See http://www.hiren.info/pages/bios-boot-cdrom for a complete Boot CD drive first guide, with handy pictures to guide you through.

Step 4: Watch the Magic Happen

After you boot into Ophcrack, a desktop environment will appear. A Window will show up, and will start to crack your Windows Password. This may take a while, depending on how complicated your password is. When it finds the password, it will list it next to your username. Be sure to remember your password! Now you can exit out of Ophcrack, remove the CD, and login to Windows with your password! (On a side note, if you want to change the Bios settings back so your hard drive boots first, redo Step 3 over again. But be sure to set your hard drive as the first boot device this time.)

 

Create a Shortcut to Eject the CD/DVD Drive

Many users want a quick and easy way to open up their CD/DVD drive right from their computer. Today I will show you how to create a shortcut to do just that.

How to Create a Shortcut to Eject the CD/DVD Drive

First download the NirCmd utility from Nirsoft here: https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/nircmd.html. Right-click on the desktop or somewhere else and click New- Shortcut from the menu. In the location box, put the pull path to the location of the downloaded NirCmd utility here. At the end, type “cdrom open” along with your disc drive letter. ( Ex: “C:\path\to\nircmd.exe” cdrom open D: ) Notice where the quotes are placed. Give the new shortcut a name, like Eject CD, and create the shortcut. You can put the new shortcut anywhere you want, and double clicking on it will open your disc drive.

How to Create a Shortcut to Close the CD/DVD Drive

Simply follow the instructions above, however this time instead of typing “cdrom open” just substitute “cdrom close”.

Give a Hotkey to the Shortcut

Right-click on the shortcut and select Properties from the menu. On the Shortcut tab, you will see a box to put in a Shortcut Key. Type in your desired shortcut key and close the window. Assuming the shortcut is on your desktop you shouldn’t need to restart anything for the hotkey to work. Now you can open your disc drive with just one (or two) keys on your keyboard.

Give an Icon to the Shortcut

Right-click the shortcut again and select Properties from the menu. Click the Shortcut tab, and you will find a button labeled Change Icon. You will then be able to browse and find a suitable icon for your shortcut. Simply select which icon you want to use and click Ok.