Identify your Motherboard without opening the case

Intel Motherboard
[Photo by Josh Bancroft, via Flickr]

It’s a problem we all encounter at some point: You’ve just re-installed Windows, and now you need to download your Mainboard drivers. But which motherboard do you have again?

Instead of opening your PC case to find the Motherboard model number, check out CPU-Z 🙂

CPU-Z is a free, stand-alone application (no installer) that very quickly lets you know your system’s vital statistics (CPU, Mobo, and RAM), so that you can head off and find the drivers you need, without having to open up the PC.


This is something I come across frequently when I’m performing OS refreshes at DisplayLink. I imagine it’s a common problem in most start-ups (are we still are start-up? haha), where PCs are bought to spec on an ad-hoc basis. Often, the only way of finding out the motherboard number is by opening the case, lifting cables, and poking around the motherboard, in an attempt to find the tiny bit of writing on the PCB that tells you its model number. Hardly ideal!

Useful Windows Keyboard Shortcuts for IT Pros – Part 2

Following on from Part 1, where I shared some useful keyboard shortcuts for general Windows usage, Part 2 covers useful shortcuts for working with Files and Text.

Working with Files and Text

Rename the highlighted file in Explorer. Edits a Cell in Excel / OpenOffice Calc.

Alt + Enter
View properties of the selected item. Works in Explorer, but also works in other places, including Outlook.

Shift + Drag file
Moves files instead of copying them to separate volumes or disks.

Control + A
Selects all text, or all files in a directory. Very useful when you need to highlight everything and then Copy or Move (Cut) it somewhere.

Control + C
Copies the highlighted item (could be text, or a file/folder). Also, Control + X cuts the highlighted item.

Control + V
Pastes whatever you just copied.

Control + Z
Undoes your last action. This even applies when you’ve deleted a file and want to restore it. Always useful when writing up blog posts 😉

Control + Y
Reapplies the action you just “undid”.

Text Specific

Control + B
Emboldens selected text, or starts to embolden text after you’ve used the shortcut. Use it again to turn off emboldening.

Control + I
Italicises selected text, or starts to italicise text after you’ve used the shortcut. Use it again to turn off italicise.

Control + U
Underlines selected text, or starts to underline text after you’ve used the shortcut. Use it again to turn off underline.

Control + Left or Right Arrow
Move forward to back a word.

Control + Shift + Left or Right Arrow
Highlight a word, backwards or forwards. Keep tapping to highlight more words

Control + Up or Down Arrow
Move to beginning or end of a line.

Shift + Up or Down Arrow
Highlight an entire line up or down.

Control + Backspace
Deletes one word to the left (behind).

Control + Delete
Deletes one word to the right (in front).

Have I missed any useful ones? What shortcuts do you use? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Useful Windows Keyboard Shortcuts for IT Pros – Part 1

Like most IT Professionals, I use a whole array of keyboard shortcuts to speed up my working throughout the day. In this two-part series, I’ll share some of the more useful ones with you.

In this post – Part 1 – I’ll cover shortcuts I use when generally working with, and troubleshooting, Windows. In Part 2, I’ll cover shortcuts for Working with Files and Text.

Part 1 – Working with Windows

Control + Shift + Escape
Instantly brings up Task Manager. Always handy for troubleshooting, and especially useful in a Domain environment, where the traditional Ctrl+Alt+Del brings up a Windows Security panel.

WinKey + D
Shows the Desktop, minimising all windows. Press it again, and all your windows are restored. This shortcut is superior to WinKey+M, as it retains all window positions.

WinKey + L
Locks your workstation. Incredibly useful if you work in IT, and frequently need to leave your PC at a moment’s notice.

Alt + Tab
Switches between open windows. To scroll “backwards” use Alt + Shift + Tab. Sometimes quicker than using the taskbar, sometimes not 😉

WinKey + Break (sometimes labeled Pause)
Opens up Systems Properties quickly.

WinKey + R
Opens up the Run command, ready for your bidding 😉

Alt + F4
Close the current window. Also, Ctrl + F4 closes the current tab in Firefox and IE7, and many other applications which feature Tabbed navigation.

Control + Tab
Switches tabs in Mozilla Firefox / Internet Explorer 7 (and a lot of other programmes that use Tabs). To go backwards, use Control + Shift + Tab.

Note: WinKey is short for Windows Key. It’s the key with the Windows symbol on it, usually between the Ctrl button and the Space Bar 🙂

Have I missed any useful ones? What shortcuts do you use? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Cycling Directions in the UK

What with my new job, I’m currently looking for a place to rent in Cambridge. As I fully intend to cycle to work, it’s quite important that I know how long it’ll take me to cycle from where I live to where I’ll be working in the city.

After much searching and sighing I discovered that ViaMichelin allows you to choose “By bike” routes, as well as “On foot” routes. Very cool, and certainly much more forward-thinking than the AA and RAC journey planners.

Maybe Google, with their Green stance, should add this feature to Google Maps too? 🙂

Selecting a Cycle route with ViaMichelin

Easily resizing images in Windows XP

Sometimes, I just want to quickly resize some images before sharing them over IM or via e-mail…

I’ve found that Microsoft’s Image Resizer is fantastic for quick photo resizing. Of course, I could do it in Fireworks and retain the quality but to do more than 3 images it becomes a waste of my time. And I’m all about utilising my time effectively 🙂

Get the Image Resizer Power Toy