Readers offer their best tips for knowing what’s behind your walls, diagnosing slow Windows laptops, and storing stuff behind your TV.
Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox, but for various reasons—maybe they’re a bit too niche, maybe we couldn’t find a good way to present it, or maybe we just couldn’t fit it in—the tip didn’t make the front page. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favorites for your buffet-style consumption. Got a tip of your own to share? Add it in the comments, email it to tips at lifehacker.com, or share it over at our user-run blog, Hackerspace.
Take a Picture Before Closing Walls During Construction
Ed shares a simple tip for when you have construction done:
We recently had to have drywall in my home office replaced after a bad roof leak. Before they put the new drywall back up, I took pictures so I would know exactly what the interior layout of the walls was in case I wanted to do work later. Now, I know where studs and cross supports are, where electrical and phone cables run. When it comes time for me to install network cabling (my spring project), I know just how to plan the run.
I know it’s a simple trick, but I thought it was worth sharing. Any time you have the walls (or anything really) open, snap a picture. You never know when it might come in handy.
Photo by mel0808johnson.
Check Windows Updates on a Slow Laptop
Mike shares a possible solution for slow-running Windows laptops:
I’m the family and friend tech support guy, just like I’m sure a lot of Lifehacker readers are. Over the years, I’ve come across this particular problem several times when people have told me their laptops seemed to be running really slowly or accessing the hard disk all the time.
Many times, the culprit is Windows Update stuck in an updating cycle. I think that when people are using the laptop wirelessly, Windows starts the download and installation automatically, but then they put the laptop to sleep before it’s finished and Windows doesn’t recover well from that. The installer or updater process just sits there eating up cycles.
The fix is simple, though. Plug the laptop into the network with an Ethernet cable and run Windows Update. Let it install everything and then update it again to make sure there’s nothing left over. When you’re done, adjust the Windows Update settings so that instead of downloading and installing updates automatically, Windows just notifies them when new updates are available.
Photo by Baddog_.
Mount Stuff on the Back of Your TV with a Pegboard
Martin shares this easy tip for stashing stuff behind your TV:
I’ve been looking for a simple and cheap way to hang all the clutter that hides behind my TV and all the solutions offered online seemed to require some kind of carpentry or metal bending. I really wanted to make use of the universal mount screw holes on the back of the TV, figuring they should be strong enough to hold at least the TV’s weight.
I just bought a 16×16-inch black pegboard, some peggable wire baskets, and 4 M6 40mm cap screws. I did have to drill four holes in the pegboard to match the mounting holes on the back of the TV, but that was all the assembly required.
Note: We have talked before about ways you can mount stuff to the back of your monitor, but we haven’t seen the pegboard approach before.
Put Your Name on the Windows Taskbar
The Windows Club shares this tip for sticking your name in the Notification Area of the Windows taskbar:
This is just a fun little tip for putting your name, or whatever text you want, in the Notification Area (where the clock is) on the Windows Taskbar. All you have to do is change the AM and PM symbol to your name. Open Control Panel > Region and then follow the steps in the picture.