Making Reflection behave like PuTTY

Around 14 years ago, I switched from using Reflection to PuTTY because it was free and my employer at the time wouldn’t pay for such extravagance software purchases such as a simple terminal emulator! Since then I’ve become rather accustomed to the way PuTTY behaves, and find Reflections particularly annoying to use on the occasion that I visit a client who insists on using it.

However, it is possible to solve most of the biggest annoyances…

Fixed font size – that doesn’t change when you resize the window:

  1. Menu > Setup > Display… > Fonts
  2. Untick the “Auto font sizing” option
  3. Change your font settings to include a size, and change the font if you want to:


Resizing the window changes the number of rows/columns to fit the window:

  1. Menu > Setup > View Settings…
  2. Find the “Dynamic Terminal Size” and change it to “Yes”.
  3. Find the “End of Line Wrap” option and change it to “Yes
  4. Click OK


Double clicking select words and paths including any underscores:

  1. Menu > Setup > View Settings…
  2. Find the “Word Boundary Exclusive” and remove the underscore from the current list of characters.
  3. Click OK


Right click copies and pastes the selected text:

  1. Menu > Setup > Mouse Map…
  2. Click on the picture of the right mouse button.
  3. Change the “command field” to “EditCopy EditPaste
  4. Click “Map”



  • Increase the Display memory to a large number of blocks in Menu > Setup > Display > Screen…
  • Make the cursor blink by ticking “Blinks” in Menu > Setup > Display > Screen…
  • Reduce the delay between pasting characters in Menu > Setup > Display > Screen…


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Turning off “Disable applications to help improve performance” notifications

I have been running Windows 10 for a while now and every other day or so, I get the Security and Maintenance notification shown above regarding “disable apps to help improve performance”.

My machine has 12 cores and 32GB of RAM – I  really am not experiencing any kind of noticeable slowdown, and all the apps running in the background are ones that I explicitly want to be running in the background to improve performance in my daily workflow. When you click on the notification it takes you to the Startup tab in Task Manager, where you can disable items in the startup, which I don’t want or need.

After a bit of hunting around, I have finally discovered how to disable this notification from appearing any more. The process is very simple once you know it!

Press the windows key, type “Security” and click on the Security and Maintenance link (or alternatively, find it in Control Panel):

You will immediately see the “problem” highlighted in the Security and Maintenance window:
Inline images 1
 Simple click on “Turn off messages about startup apps” and you will never be bothered by that pesky notification ever again!

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Using older Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners with Windows 10

A number of older ScanSnap scanners released by Fujitsu are no longer supported and the official line from Fujitsu is to buy new hardware. However, the ScanSnap range isn’t cheap and you can avoid spending a large sum by utilizing Compatibility Mode built into Windows to get your older scanner working with the latest versions of Windows.

Note: This advice is essentially the same as in my previous post Using a Fujitsu ScanSnap with Windows 8 (fi-5110eox2 or S500) but updated for Windows 10 and with more generic advice for getting other models to work.

Step 1 – Download Software

All drivers and software are available directly from the Software Downloads section of the Fujitsu website, organized by model number. Click through to your model (we’ll be using the fi-5110exo2 in our examples) and you’ll see a table similar to the one below:

Software downloads example

Software downloads for the fi-5110exo2

Download the setup program for “ScanSnap Manager” and then select the Update tab to find the most recent software update made available by Fujitsu.

Obtain the latest software update

Software update for the fi-5110exo2

As you can see above, the last update made available for the fi-5110exo2 is for Windows 7. Download it anyway and make a note of the version of Windows as you’ll need to know that when entering compatibility mode:

Step 2 – Install the Setup program

Firstly, ensure that the scanner is turned off and the lid closed.

Now run the ScanSnap Manager setup program that you downloaded in Step 1, which will extract the software to a subdirectory. Once extracted, navigate into the directory and run setup.exe to install ScanSnap Manager.

Step 3 – Reboot

Reboot – If you don’t, the next step probably won’t work (it didn’t for me with the fi-5510exo2)

Step 4 – Install the Update using compatibility mode

This is the final and the most important step. You need to tell Windows to run the ScanSnap Manager Update in compatibility mode for the version of Windows that it was created for.

Right click – do not double-click – on the Update program that you downloaded in Step 1, and Select  “Troubleshoot Compatibilityfrom the context menu that appears.

Select Troubleshoot compatibility

Select “Troubleshoot compatibility”

Windows will launch the “Program Compatibility Troubleshooter, with options to use recommended settings or to manually choose compatibility settings. Select the second option, “Troubleshoot program

Select "Troubleshoot program"

Select “Troubleshoot program”

We know that the update program was written for a prior version of Windows, therefore you should select the first option “The program worked in earlier versions of Windows but won’t install or run now” and click “Next”


Select the version of Windows that the update file was designed for (which you noted down in step 1) and click “Next”.
In the case of the fi-5110exo2 this was Windows 7.

Select the appropriate version of windows

Select the appropriate version of windows

Click “Test the program…” and the update program will run.

Select "Test the program"

Select “Test the program”

After finishing the installation, click “Yes, save these settings for this program“.

Click "Yes, save these settings for this program"

Click “Yes, save these settings for this program”

Step 5 – Turn on your ScanSnap

Finally, turn on your ScanSnap scanner and it should be detected correctly. Perform a test scan to confirm everything is working as expected.

… and finally.

I plan to keep the table at the top of the article updated with details of which ScanSnap scanners have been tested. If you have successfully tested as scanner which is not listed, please post a comment below confirming the model number, version of windows the update is working on and the version of Windows chosen in the Compatibility troubleshooter.

Happy scanning!

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Starting a Batch (DOS) file minimized

In my article “How to backup your Evernote notes regularly” I supplied a windows batch file that could be used with the Windows Scheduler to automatically backup your Evernote Notes. In use, however, it soon becomes annoying that the scheduler launches a DOS window to run the script right in the middle of the screen.

The answer to this problem is to specify the command to be used by the Scheduler as follows:

%comspec% /c start “” /min “C:pathtoyourbatchfile.bat”

Note that when you click OK to save the command above you will be warned that you have included arguments in the program text box. You should dismiss the warning by selecting “No” and the command will appear as you specified.

Note: Your batch file must contain an “exit” as the last command in the file, otherwise the minimized command window will not be closed.

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Oracle Data Access Components (ODAC)

ODAC insn’t a product as such – it is actually a collection of drivers that provide connectivity to Oracle (listed below). If you are asked to install a particular Oracle driver, such as ODBC, OLE DB or a provider for .Net then in all probability you just need to install whole the ODAC package.

  • Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio
  • Oracle Data Provider for .NET
  • Oracle Providers for ASP.NET
  • Oracle Provider for OLE DB
  • Oracle Services for Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS)
  • Oracle ODBC Driver

For Troubleshooting / FAQ, see the section at the bottom of the page.

Installation Instructions

The following instructions are pretty generic and should apply to all versions of ODAC:

  • Ensure that your TMP and TEMP environmental variables do not contain a “!” character (if, for example, your username includes this character) as it causes the Oracle Installer to silently quit, causing much confusion.
  • Copy the ODAC software onto the server, unzip it to a temporary location (which can be deleted after the install)
  • Run the Setup.exe executable and proceed as follows:

Step 1

  • Click next

step 2

  • Select Oracle Data Access Components for Oracle Client, and then click next

step 3

  • Enter an appropriate Oracle Base location (e.g. D:Oracle)
  • Enter a descriptive name for the home name and edit the path to clearly indicate that this is an ODAC install, and whether it is 32bit or 64bit.

step 4

  • Click next

step 5


  • Click next

step 6

  • Leave the port on the default 2030 and click next

step 7


  • Click next

step 8

  • Installation is now complete, so click exit.
  • Note: The server must be rebooted for some of the components (like OLE DB) to be registered properly.

FAQ / Troubleshooting

I have been asked to install both the 32 and 64 bit versions of ODAC. Which should I do first.

Install the 32 bit drivers first, then the 64 bit drivers. During the 64 bit install you will probably see the error in the next question (which can be ignored).

I get an “OracleMTSRecoveryService already exists” error.

It’s OK, you can safely ignore this error.

The Oracle driver is not listed in the “ODBC Administrator” utility and the developers cannot create a DSN (Data Source Name).

Did you install the 32 bit version of ODAC on a 64 bit OS?

If so, when you run ODBC Administrator from the start menu (or control panel) you are actually running the 64 bit version of the utility which is unable to “see” the Oracle driver. The answer is to run the 32 bit version of ODBC Administrator and create the DSN there. The 32 bit version can be launched by running the following command:


Users are reporting a “ole db provider not registered” error.

The server needs to be rebooted after installation for the OLE components to be registered.

Users are reporting that “SSIS” does not work.

SSIS stands for SQL Server Integration Services, a tool which allows SQL Server to talk to an Oracle database. Under the covers SSIS uses the OLE DB access component. If the users are complaining about an error with their SSIS connection then it probably means the server was not rebooted after the ODAC installation (i.e. the OLE problem in the above question).


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Logging PuTTY sessions

As a DBA, it is generally a good idea to log all your activity when working on Unix/Linux servers. Logging provides an audit of changes that you have made to a system as well as being a valuable resource for notes and documentation. This article describes how to log all PuTTY sessions and how to automatically maintain the resulting log files in a logical directory structure based on date as follows:

Directory Structure

Directory Structure

First off, you need to enable logging as the default. Launch PuTTY and navigate to the Logging section and configure the options as shown. Unfortunately, we can’t specify the directory structure within PuTTY as it won’t automatically create directories if they don’t already exist.

PuTTY Logging options

PuTTY Logging options

Finally, navigate back to the Sessions list, highlight “Default Settings” and click Save. Annoyingly, if you have any saved sessions already, you will need to load each one, set the logging options and save it again (as there isn’t any way to  change logging globally).

PuTTY sessions

PuTTY sessions

At this point, all your PuTTY sessions will be logged to a single directory. However, after you’ve logged a few hundred sessions you’ll wish there was a nice easy way to keep the files organised. The easiest way is to create a BAT file with the following code, which you can either put in your startup folder or schedule to run (via the windows scheduler) on a regular basis:

@echo off
cd C:logs
for %%a in (*.*) do (
for /f "tokens=1,2,3 delims=/ " %%x in ("%%~ta") do md %%z%%y%%x&move "%%a" "%%z%%y%%x"

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SurfacePro – Enabling F-keys by default on touch/type keyboards

The help section on the Microsoft Surface website has the following to say about using the F-keys on the touch/type covers:

“If you want to use a function key (F1-F12), use the Fn key in combination with a key from the top row of Touch Cover. For example for F1, press Fn + Mute.”

However if you use a lot of keyboard shortcuts then you’ll suddenly discover your productivity takes a dive with the need to hold down yet another key (and for some shortcuts it’s downright impossible) .

There is a simple solution however —  pressing Fn + Caps reverses the behavior of the F keys permanently (even surviving a reboot).

Now pressing (for example) F5 will perform a refresh, but pressing Fn+F5 will perform a search.

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Moving the Start screen between multiple monitors

After installing a new graphics card I discovered that that the Start screen in windows 8 was appearing on a different monitor to the one I originally had it on in my multi-monitor setup. After a little digging, I discovered that there are two very quick and easy ways to switch which monitor it appears on.

  1. Move the mouse into the bottom left corner of the monitor on which you want the start menu to appear, and click on the Start screen tile that appears. Windows will  remember which monitor last displayed the Start screen and use it again in future.
  2. Bring up the Start, then hold down the win-key key while pressing either “Page up” or “Page Down”. The Start screen will cycle between all available monitors. 


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Adding Shutdown and Restart tiles to Windows 8 Start Screen

In general, I think that the changes Microsoft have introduced with Windows 8 are very positive and herald a move to a much simpler interface for the majority of users.

Although there is a lot of negativity within the technical press and amongst self-proclaimed “experts” and “power-users” they miss the point that a vast majority of Microsoft’s users find the desktop metaphor with it’s overlapping windows to be very confusing. It is very common to see less technical users immediately “full-screen” whatever application they happen to be using, be it a web browser, word document or photo viewer.

However, not every change in Windows 8 is an improvement. Take the process for shutting down or restarting a computer. This  involves bringing up the charms menu, clicking “settings” (Why is Shutdown a setting?) and then clicking on the power icon. In fact, many users find themselves clicking their name on the Start Screen to log-off, then using the shutdown button on the login page.

With this in mind, here is a very simple script (right click on the link and select “save link as…”) which when run will add two tiles to the start screen – “Shutdown” and “Restart” – as shown below. Simply download the script and run it and you will have two tiles added to your Start Screen that can be used to quickly and easily shutdown or restart you computer in an instant.

Shutdown and Restart tiles pinned to the Windows 8 Start Screen

Shutdown and Restart tiles pinned to the Windows 8 Start Screen

For those who are suspicious about downloading and running VBS scripts (and you should be!) the contents of the script are shown below to allay your fears.

' Get a shell and the Start Menu location.
set shell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
startMenu = shell.SpecialFolders("StartMenu")

' Shutdown shortcut
set shutdownLnk = shell.CreateShortcut(startMenu & "Shutdown.lnk")
shutdownLnk.TargetPath = "%systemroot%System32shutdown.exe"
shutdownLnk.Arguments = "-s -t 0"
shutdownLnk.IconLocation = "%systemroot%System32shell32.dll,27"

' Restart shortcut
set restartLnk = shell.CreateShortcut(startMenu & "Restart.lnk")
restartLnk.TargetPath = "%systemroot%System32shutdown.exe"
restartLnk.Arguments = "-r -t 0"
restartLnk.IconLocation = "%systemroot%System32shell32.dll,176"

' Tell the user we've done something otherwise it appears as though nothing has happened!
Wscript.Echo "Shutdown & Restart buttons have been created on your Windows 8 Start Screen."

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Mapping a network drive in Windows 8

I store most of my files on a central server so the first thing that I do after performing a new OS installation is to map a number of network drives. However, after installing Windows 8 I was initially confused as I couldn’t find the option to map a network drive anywhere on the new ribbon interface.

It turns out that in Windows 8 the option only appears in the ribbon if you are currentlyviewing the Computer location (shown below). This is the initial location that is displayed if you launch windows explorer using the WIN+E shortcut.

Hopefully this post will help anyone else who gets equally confused!

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