CSV Files display incorrectly in Excel 2013

Here’s one that caught me …. opening a CSV file in Excel 2013 all the comma separated fields were crammed in column 1 instead of being separated into columns as if the separator was not being recognised … the same file opened correctly in Excel 2016 on another machine.

So what gives?  It must be a setting in Excel 2013 … but where?  There was nothing obvious in the Options.

Well it turns out I’m not the only person to hit this issue … and I found the answer in this link:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/17953679/how-to-correctly-display-csv-files-within-excel-2013

The issue as it turns out is in the Regional Settings of the computer itself not in Excel 2013.  I actually have the computer with the issue set to the Italian Language because I’m currently learning Italian but European languages use different separators to English which appears to affect how the computer and applications interpret CSV files.

So changing the decimal separator (Separatore decimale) to a decimal point and list separator (Separatore di elenco) to a comma in the regional settings in the computer’s Control Panel fixes the problem.

ItalianSeparators

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Connecting to Azure with Powershell through an Authenticated Proxy

At my place of work all internet traffic is funneled through an Ironport authenticated proxy.   If you need to connect to Azure with Powershell through an authenticated proxy (e.g. Ironport) then you need to supply credentials for the proxy to use.

The simplest way I have found to do this on a Windows machine is to include the statement below in your connection script which takes your default cached logon credentials on your local system and populates then into your web proxy credentials.

[System.Net.WebRequest]::DefaultWebProxy.Credentials = [System.Net.CredentialCache]::DefaultCredentials

I got this awesome advice from here:

How can I run an Azure powershell cmdlet through a proxy server with credentials?

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/6818672/how-can-i-run-an-azure-powershell-cmdlet-through-a-proxy-server-with-credentials

After setting the proxy creds you can use either the Add-AzureRmAccount or Login-AzureRMAccount cmdlets in Powershell to “interactively authenticate” and connect to Azure.

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Powershell Variables and the Underscore character

Well you learn something new every day …

The underscore character _ is a valid character in a variable name in Powershell.

You will find this out if you try and concatenate two variables separated by an _ to make a string value for say a file name e.g.

$filename = “$name_$time”

Even if you have previously correctly defined values for $name and $time, Powershell will be looking for a variable called $name_ which will most likely be undefined and the result will be just

$filename = “$time”

The solutions are:

$filename = “$name`_$time”   # escape the _ with `

or

$filename = “${name}_$time”   # use curly braces to delimit the variable name

Some great explanations of this in the following references:

http://richbrownesq-sqlserver.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/powershell-string-concatenation-with.html

https://www.vistax64.com/powershell/274848-variable-string-surrounded-underscore.html

http://www.techtalkz.com/microsoft-windows-powershell/448406-underscores.html

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/reference/3.0/microsoft.powershell.core/about/about_variables

 

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Getting the Touch Screen to work under Windows 10 on the Pendo Pad 7

Following on from managing to get Windows 10 installed on the Pendo Pad 7 I now need to get the Touch screen working.

I went looking all over the web for some drivers that might be remotely compatible but only found one set of touch drivers from a Chinese Chuwi Vi10 that seemed remotely likely to work. They didn’t work but in attempting to install them manually I noticed that there are actually already 2 sets of “compatible” touch drivers installed in Windows 10 on the Pendo Pad 7.

The default drivers are Version 17 drivers dated from 2015 but there are also Version 18 drivers dated from 2014.  Go figure.  Anyway out of desperation I had nothing to use by trying the older (but higher versioned) drivers and they just worked.

Here are the steps to choose the other driver:

  1. Open Device Manager
  2. Right Click on the KMDF (kernel mode device function) HID Minidriver for Touch

DeviceManager

3) Choose to Update Driver Software

UpdateDriverSoftware

4) Browse my computer for driver software

BrowseMyComputer

5) Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer

LetMePick

6) Select the higher version number but earlier dated driver and then click Next to install the driver

KMDFV18

Then at least in my case the Touch screen works.

The final thing to really get the Pendo Pad 7 humming on Windows 10 is to disable the onboard Bluetooth device because the onboard Bluetooth device interferes with the WiFi.    I have used a MicroUSB HUB and installed an external USB Bluetooth device when I need to use Bluetooth.

Enjoy.

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Windows 10 on the Pendo Pad 7 Windows Tablet

After a number of challenging issues with the Pendo Pad 7 Tablet with its original Windows 8 (Std, non-Pro), the worst being the instability of WiFi connectivity, I thought that I’d try and upgrade the Pendo Pad to the recently released Windows 10 to see if it offers any improvement.

The Pad was not real useful anyway with the WiFi issues under Windows 8.1 so I figured if I “bricked” it I wasn’t losing much anyway.

The first challenge in attempting to upgrade the Pad to Windows 10 was the disk space required for the upgrade.  With less than a Gigabyte free on the C:\ drive I thought it was going to be impossible.

I do have 32GB MicroSD card in as a D:\ drive but I wasn’t sure how of if this would be used during the upgrade process.

So I set about freeing up what disk space I could.  Firstly I uninstalled Office 2013 to get about 2GB back on the C:\ drive.

Next I adjusted the pagefile; in fact I can’t quite remember what I did but I think I turned it off all together and deleted it off the C:\ drive.  I also made sure there wasn’t any hibernate files either.

I think I ended up with just under 4GB free on C:\ drive.

If you are going to try and upgrade a Pendo Pad 7 to Windows 10 there are at least 4 things that you will need:

  • As much space as you can get on C:\ drive
  • A MicroSD card – at least a 16GB card
  • A microUSB keyboard (I’ll tell you why later)
  • The Windows 10 (32bit) Install files on a USB drive

So the first step is to clear as much space as you can on C:\ drive by deleting things like Office 2013, the pagefile, any hibernate files, any Browser cache files, any applications etc

You’ll need to copy the Windows 10 installation files onto the D:\ drive microSD card.  They will take about 3 GB.

One trick with doing an in-place upgrade to Windows 10 is that you generally need to upgrade to the same version (e.g. Std, Pro, Enterprise etc) as the version that is currently installed.  If you do this the upgrade process will preserve all installed applications, all user settings and all user data.

If you upgrade to a different version to what is already installed you will be told during the upgrade process that it will only preserve user data.

In my case I had already uninstalled all applications and I had no user settings or data that I cared about on the C:\ drive (any data on the microSD D:\ drive is unaffected) so I was happy to upgrade to any version.

I’d recommend upgrading to Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise to get the additional RDP and User Management functionality.  I chose to upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise because of other testing I need to do.

Copy the Windows 10 install files from the install media (in my case a USB drive plugged into the microUSB slot) to a directory on the SD card.  I used the 32bit version.  I don’t know if the Pendo 7 has a 32bit or 64bit processor but it only has 1GB of memory so it doesn’t really matter if you only use the 32bit version.

So once you are ready you can run the Windows 10 setup.exe from the install files on D:\ drive.

I got a message saying that there was not enough space on C:\ drive to save the recovery files (Windows.old) and offering to save them on to the D:\  drive (microSD card).  Say Yes to this.

From there the install proceeded as expected, copying files (it took a while) and then eventually rebooting and then coming up with the Windows 10 set up screens asking for user details etc.

This is where it got interesting.  At this point there are no touch screen drivers installed so you can’t answer the setup questions because any on-screen keyboard will not show up or work.

At this point after about 3 reboots to see if they would make any difference I thought that I had “bricked” the Pendo Pad.  There was no way to answer the setup questions without a keyboard … unless I can plug in a USB keyboard using the microUSB slot … yep, I grabbed a normal USB keyboard that I had and used an OTG USB to microUSB cable and plugged in the keyboard.  It took a while to be recognised (and I can’t remember if I had to reboot with the keyboard plugged in to get it to be recognised) but eventually it worked and I was able to answer the setup questions to finish the setup.   Some of the setup screens require tabbing to options that are not displayed on the screen so a bit of guess work is required.

Eventually, I was about to get Windows 10 “working” on the Pendo Pad 7 but a few things, in particular the touch screen, still don’t work.    Pleasantly, Windows 10 does recognise the Realtek RTL8723BS WiFI and Bluetooth card and so WiFi and Bluetooth do work “out of the box” but not perfectly (I’ll cover this off in a future post).

Windows10onPendo

Also we have the same Power Profile issues as with Windows 8 in that High Performance is not available until you disable Connected Standby (which seems to be called InstantGo in Windows 10).

Now you can set up your accounts as you need them.

I’m only left with about 400MB of free space on C:\ drive.  There is a Windows.old directory still on C:\ drive that is taking up about 4GB so this can be removed by going to Settings|System | Storage and clicking on the C:\ drive, then clicking on Temporary Files.and selecting to Delete previous versions of Windows.

After that you might be able to re-install Office 2013 from Office365, or find a way to install it on the D:\ drive (microSD).

More on my fun with Windows 10 on the Pendo Pad 7 in future posts.

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Pendo Pad 7 Windows Tablet Review

Earlier this year I did an experimental purchase of a Pendo Pad 7” Windows Tablet from Australia Post for $99.  The Pendo Pad 7 came with a one year Office365 subscription which in itself retails for at least $89 so I reckoned even if the tablet was “shite” I could use the Office365 subscription which I have done.

The major reason I bought the Pad was to start to get some experience with Windows Store apps to see how they compared with other app stores like the Android App store and the price seemed right.

The Pendo Pad 7” came with Windows 8.1 (Standard, non-Pro) and the full Tablet specs are here:

http://www.pendo.com.au/pendopad/pendopads-windows-8/pendopad-7-intel-quad-core-windows-tablet-pndppw81q716blk/

In short, it’s a challenging device to use and I have probably spent way too much time working around minor and not so minor issues with the Pendo Pad 7 Windows Tab.

My high level observations are:

  • Microsoft Windows is not meant to be used on a small screen and even the annoying Modern (Metro) interface in Windows 8 doesn’t address that.
  • The Tab only comes with 16GB or storage and Windows 8 and a recovery partition take over 13GB of that so there is not much C:\ drive left for actual applications. If you then install Office 2013 which is available as part of the included Office365 subscription it takes about 1.5GB of the 2.8GB you have available so you are left with just over 1 GB for any App store apps … getting kind of a close to useless.  You can install an SD card as a D:\ drive (and I have a 32GB card in it) but sadly when you install Office 2013 over the wire from Office365 you can’t nominate where it goes.  It goes on C:\ drive whether you like it or not.  There are posts from people who have managed to move the Office 2013 files after installation to a D:\ drive by hacking the registry but I haven’t yet been brave enough to try that.
  • The WiFi drivers are crap. The Tab uses a Realtek RTL8723BS aggregated WiFi and Bluetooth radio chipset and the WiFi and Bluetooth interfere with each other.  I’m not completely sure whether the problem is that the Tab is underpowered or if the drivers are bad but the WiFi will regularly drop out and lose packets.  It’s worse (almost unusable) when Bluetooth is on, almost useable if you turn Bluetooth off.

Other than that, it’s a semi-functional low end Tablet.

A bit more about my experiences.

Office365 Subscription Issues

When I first tried to “activate” the included Office subscription I kept getting error 0x803D0006.

When I tried to access the Windows Store I kept getting “Error 1053 Service would not start”

Multiple reboots eventually seemed to fix it.  I never actually worked out what was going wrong but it did come good and I was able to activate the subscription.

After I got it running seemingly ok Windows Update offered me 78 Windows 8.1 updates which I installed but it took a fair chunk of time … I basically had to leave it running overnight.

 

Windows 8 (Std, non-Pro) limitations

The Pendo Pad 7 Windows Tab comes with Windows 8.1 (standard, non-Pro) which is basically the “Home” version equivalent and this version has some reduced/cutdown functionality.

It’s actually really annoying not having some of this functionality.  Things that are missing are:

  • No Users and Groups GUI

You have to manage your users through the Control Panel User Accounts setting dialog boxes which are not as easy or as functional as the Windows User and Groups GUI in Computer Management MMC.

There is actually no way to manage groups through the Control Panel User Accounts functionality, but you can use the Net USER and Net Localgroup command line commands.

  • No RDP for remote management but you can do Remote assistance

In Windows 8 (non-Pro), Remote Desktop (RDP) is disabled so you can’t remote into the Tab from another machine.  It would be handy to do this when you are doing things on the tablet like installing and configuring stuff that you need a keyboard and mouse for. The onscreen keyboard and touch screen are a poor substitute for a proper keyboard and mouse in Windows.

You can use programs like ThinStuff that provide this functionality but once the ThinStuff trial version expires it becomes annoying to use and the cost of a non-trial version of ThinStuff basically doubles the cost of the Tab.

  • No GPEDIT.msc

GPEDIT functionality is also disabled in Windows 8 (non-Pro).  This is not generally a big deal unless you are trying to adjust something that is only adjustable using Group Policy

Windows 8 (non-Pro) also can’t be added to a Windows Server Active Directory Domain but this is not really a problem for a personal Tablet device.

Power Profiles Missing

Windows 8 Tablets seem to have a new power setting called  Connected Standby (CS) … I believe that this is to allow the tablet to go into standby mode but still stay connected to something and wake up for events like alarms.

Connected Standby seems to obscure other power plan profiles such as High Performance.  It looks like if you disable Connected Standby in the registry you can choose High Performance (where you lose the sleep setting) and then re-enable Connected Standby and you get sleep back and also retain visibility to the High Performance profile.

How to disable connected standby:

https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-Tablets/How-to-disable-connected-standby/m-p/1367197/highlight/true#M27364

Connected Standby also seems to adversely affect Tablet power consumption. There is a bit of a discussion about it here:

http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/threads/disable-connected-standby-get-advanced-power-profile-access-and-reduce-cpu-power-usage-by-25-by-undervolt.62929/

The High Performance power profile becomes important when we talk about the WiFi performance below.

Power Charging

While on the subject of Power, the Pendo Pad 7 needs greater than 500mA to charge properly so a normal USB charger may not do it. The power adapter that comes with the Pendo Pad 7 is 1500mA output and you need to use this or another high power USB charger to keep it charged.

The WiFi networking seems to regularly drop packets

This is probably the most annoying issue with the Pendo Pad 7 Windows Tab and one that I had hoped would be fixed by just getting the right network drivers but after a lot of effort I still can’t find drivers or configuration settings that make it work as reliably as I would like.

The “out of the box” Realtek drivers are really old – like 2006.

I couldn’t find newer drivers for the Realtek RTL8723BS on the Realtek site (http://www.realtek.com.tw)

I installed updated Realtek drivers (Aug 2014) from the Dell site

http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/Drivers/DriversDetails?driverId=CFMTN

I had to extract the drivers and manually install them because the Dell install program won’t work on this tablet.

Some other drivers are also available from HP

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareDownloadIndex?cc=us&lc=en&softwareitem=ob-140101-1

These seemed a bit older so I went with the Dell ones.

One thing that does seem to make a difference is running the Pad on with the High Performance Profile (see discussion above on how to enable this).   It drops fewer packets on High Performance.

The RealTek RTL8723BS has a parameter setting called WiFI Config.  Setting the RTL8723BS NIC WiFi config parameter to “WiFi” reduces the number of ping packets it drops but the Rii Bluetooth keyboard I use then stops working.  Basically all Bluetooth stops working.

If you set this parameter to “Performance” it seems to drop more packets but the Rii Bluetooth Keyboard and track pad I use seems to work.

Turning off QOS settings also seemed to make a difference and reduced the dropped ping packets by about 75%.

I’m out of ideas on how to fix this dropped packet issue so I’m going to investigate upgrading to Windows 10.

If you are thinking of getting one of these or another Windows Tablet think very carefully.

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Can’t see Cursor in Windows Azure Powershell Window

Lots of people seem to be having this issue, from a far back as 2012 to even now in Jan 2015.

You can install the Windows Azure Powershell Command Line tools but when you open the Azure Powershell command window there is no blinking cursor to tell you where you are typing.  If you want to correct or modify a previous command there is no indication of where your cursor is so you can’t easily modify the command.

Fortunately this is easily fixed by entering the following command in the Powershell window:

[Console]::CursorSize=25

which then presents a small blinking cursor.

You will have to do this command every time you open or re-open the Azure Powershell window, so it could be best to add this command into your Powershell profile script.  To edit your Powershell profile script type:

Notepad $profile

Add the [Console] line above and save and close your profile script.

If you don’t already have a Profile script then Notepad will prompt you to create one.

This could be a machine or OS specific issue as it happens to me on my Windows 7 machine but not on my Windows 2012 R2 server.

Many people have blogged this answer so thanks to you all.  Too many to give everyone credit but an early blog that I found was:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/25394160/how-to-show-cursor-in-powershell

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