Category Archives: How-to

Quick and Easy Setup of MySQL for Windows


One of the great things about MySQL is its versatility of installation. It can be setup as a Windows service and trimmed out with some extra utilities or it can be installed on a flash drive as a portable server.

The easiest installation is certainly the Windows Installer with a wizard that will guide you through the installation of the server and all the options you want.  Myself, I still like self-contained programs that won’t interfere with anything else on my system and can be easily removed without leaving hidden traces. I also don’t like adding a lot of stuff to my Windows startup.

If you have a basic comfort with using the Windows command line and control panel, doing a minimal installation of MySQL is not difficult once you understand a few steps. The full documentation is available for reference on MySQL.com but here are the essentials to get you started.

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Windows 7 Update Gets Stuck While Looking for Updates

Windows UpdateAfter doing my year-end rebuild of my Windows 7 system, I went ahead and did a check for updates, preparing to wait for awhile as there were currently over 150 important updates for my system even after installing SP1.

So I waited … and waited … and waited some more.

After a couple hours, I knew something was up so I started searching for solutions. Finally I found an update that took care of it; an update was needed to fix the update process.

KB3135445 – Windows Update Client for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

To apply this fix:

  1. Restart your computer. I prefer to do a complete shutdown, wait a few seconds and then start it backup.
  2. To be safe, disable any anti-virus programs you have running. This update might not work if they’re active.
  3. From the above link, download the version of the fix that’s appropriate to your computer.
  4. Double click on the file to run it and follow the prompts. The installation process is short and simple.
  5. After the update finishes, restart your computer again.

When you run Windows update, it should now find any available updates within a reasonable amount of time.

If that update doesn’t fix the problem, there are a couple of others that I found out about when dealing with this problem on another machine.

KB3020369 – April 2015 servicing stack update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

KB3172605 – July 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

Again, be sure to disable your anti-virus software when installing these and possibly when checking for updates as well.

Adding Passswords to Microsoft Access Switchboard Options

The Switchboard Manager in Microsoft Access makes it easy to create a system of menus that will enable your users to navigate through your application. It also relieves you of the need to manage multiple menu forms and macro calls.

Microsoft Access switchboard form

Figure 1 – Example Access Switchboard

Sometimes, however, you might want to keep all but a few users out of specific areas, even if it’s just a password to discourage the curious. This is one thing the Switchboard Manager doesn’t offer and I’d like to show you one method for achieving this here. I want to stress that this method is not truly secure.  On it’s own, it won’t prevent a user from hitting F11 and browsing through the database. A power user who wants to see those areas could defeat this method pretty quickly. It will keep the merely curious and inexperienced users out, however, and could be combined with other measures to add more security.

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A Complete Guide to Installing MySQL and PHP with IIS

One of my latest projects was setting up WordPress, the popular content management system, on a client’s web server which was running Windows Server 2008. WordPress requires installations of MySQL for the database back-end and the PHP scripting language in order to serve up the WordPress content. On a local Windows machine, I’d probably just use a pre-configured WAMP (Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack package like EasyPHP which is installed quickly and includes all the necessary components. That’s not quite an option in a professional environment, though. I was also working with Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.5 for the web server instead of Apache so the process is a little more involved.

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On the Importance of Backups and Storage Decisions

Windows 7 installation routine

Re-installing Windows 7 ….

I admit it’s a little bit of a geek thing but I’m in the habit of wiping and reloading my computer systems at least once a year to keep everything working right. I find that, even as careful as I am about what I install, I still work with some major software and Windows systems start to slow down and get a little flaky after awhile with random hiccups that take time to track down. Sometimes, it’s easier just to take a day, back everything up and re-install Windows from scratch.

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Fixing the Orange (or Red) Status Icon in WampServer

As part of my latest project, I decided to try out WampServer, the Windows development environment for developing web applications with Apache web server, MySQL database and PHP scripting (Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP – WAMP). Packages like WampServer and EasyPHP are simplified ways to create a testing environment on your PC without spending a lot of time downloading, installing and configuring the individual components. The package also includes utilities such as PHPMyAdmin and SQLBuddy for managing your MySQL databases and writing SQL queries. The software is available in 32- and 64-bit versions and the installation is pretty straightforward.

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Importing Meta Descriptions to Yoast SEO

In a recent post, I talked about using the WordPress plugin Add Meta Tags for adding meta descriptions and titles to posts and pages within my WordPress sites. It’s a simple SEO tool but works well. Nevertheless, I decided to switch my sites over to Yoast SEO for all its extra features and guidance in constructing pages. I was anticipating quite a job as this blog alone has almost 100 posts and all of those descriptions needed to be transferred from the fields created by the old plugin to Yoast’s fields. Yoast does have some import tools of its own but they didn’t include the one I’d been using and my experience with a third-party converter had not been good so I was glad to find that I could do it so simply with one query in phpMyAdmin.

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How Do I Switch to Linux?

For years, the idea of running Linux has been associated with the typing of confusing commands into terminal programs and a fairly steep learning curve that a lot of users avoided just by sticking with Windows. In the last few years, however, Linux has come a long way with many different versions (also called distributions) for users to choose from, some of which look and act very much like the previous versions of Windows that users long for after sampling Windows 8.

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Creating Virtual Machines with Oracle VM VirtualBox

What is Virtualization?

Win7-XP

Virtual machines enable the user to run multiple guest systems on the same computer. This image shows a virtual machine with Windows XP installed, , referred to as the guest system, running on a Windows 7 host machine.

Several years ago, I wrote an article for this site about Microsoft Virtual PC, Microsoft’s implementation of virtualization technology for the Windows desktop. Virtualization software enables a computer to act as a host, running multiple computer sessions with different operating systems for the purpose of testing software, isolating specific programs from the rest of the software on the host machine or maintaining older operating systems as needed after an upgrade. Virtual PC was a somewhat simplified virtualization software which officially supported various versions of DOS and Windows and made the virtualization concept a little more accessible to the average user. With the release of Windows 8, it was succeeded by Hyper-V on machines with the necessary hardware requirements and Windows 8 editions.

Oracle VM VirtualBox

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HDMI to VGA: Using your VGA monitor on your HDMI laptop

Looks like the trusty old VGA interface is on its way out and while you’ll still see legacy systems and devices using this 25 year old standard for monitor connections, the newer laptops and computers are starting to pass on VGA connectors in favor of HDMI which, among its other benefits, allows for thinner devices. When I bought my new laptop computer, I never even thought to check if it had a VGA monitor port on it and, sure enough, it doesn’t. Instead, it has an Active HDMI port on the side. This wasn’t a problem until I tried connecting it to a projector during a meeting a few months ago and found out that projector’s HDMI interface didn’t work.

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