Random Tech Questions you want answered.

misplacedbravado wrote:

Try WinDirStat.

Thanks!

I use Treesize for the same thing.

I just tried WinDirStat on your recommendation and wow is that useful! I had assumed my SSD was constantly almost full because it's just a 256gb drive and my windows install is on it, but turns out I had about 40gb of Fallout 4 saves on it, 20gb of iPhone backups from prior to 2017, and something like 3gb of Razer software updates for my stupid mouse software. Who knew?

mrlogical wrote:

I just tried WinDirStat on your recommendation and wow is that useful! I had assumed my SSD was constantly almost full because it's just a 256gb drive and my windows install is on it, but turns out I had about 40gb of Fallout 4 saves on it, 20gb of iPhone backups from prior to 2017, and something like 3gb of Razer software updates for my stupid mouse software. Who knew?

Right? Why Windows doesn't replicate that simple functionality is beyond me.

And how people play "what do I uninstall to make room for the thing I want to install" without it?

If you run WinDirStat with elevated privileges it can see hidden files including Windows app data. This is how I discovered that some Game Pass games I uninstalled were still using 100GB of data on my SSD.

Turns out that if you've moved a game pass game between drives (using the app move feature of Windows) it doesn’t always uninstall cleanly. Or at least they didn’t used to. Haven’t tried it in a while.

sold

pandasuit wrote:

If you run WinDirStat with elevated privileges it can see hidden files including Windows app data. This is how I discovered that some Game Pass games I uninstalled were still using 100GB of data on my SSD.

Turns out that if you've moved a game pass game between drives (using the app move feature of Windows) it doesn’t always uninstall cleanly. Or at least they didn’t used to. Haven’t tried it in a while.

Windirstat taught me to hate the Xbox app becuase it doesn't' use sensible names for folders so it' not obvious which game that 100Gb is from

Jonman wrote:
pandasuit wrote:

If you run WinDirStat with elevated privileges it can see hidden files including Windows app data. This is how I discovered that some Game Pass games I uninstalled were still using 100GB of data on my SSD.

Turns out that if you've moved a game pass game between drives (using the app move feature of Windows) it doesn’t always uninstall cleanly. Or at least they didn’t used to. Haven’t tried it in a while.

Windirstat taught me to hate the Xbox app becuase it doesn't' use sensible names for folders so it' not obvious which game that 100Gb is from

Yes totally. Although that new single archive file app format seems to be for more than just games these days. I think they are moving all new Windows apps that direction over time.

pandasuit wrote:
Jonman wrote:
pandasuit wrote:

If you run WinDirStat with elevated privileges it can see hidden files including Windows app data. This is how I discovered that some Game Pass games I uninstalled were still using 100GB of data on my SSD.

Turns out that if you've moved a game pass game between drives (using the app move feature of Windows) it doesn’t always uninstall cleanly. Or at least they didn’t used to. Haven’t tried it in a while.

Windirstat taught me to hate the Xbox app becuase it doesn't' use sensible names for folders so it' not obvious which game that 100Gb is from

Yes totally. Although that new single archive file app format seems to be for more than just games these days. I think they are moving all new Windows apps that direction over time.

I installed my Game Pass games to a secondary drive and it created three empty directories and one directory that seem to have the game files and god knows what else at the root level of the drive. One of the empty directories has permission set in such a way that I can't view the contents even with admin level access. At least with Steam and Epic I was just able to make a couple of folders and they store everything in them.

I love windirstat, especially that graphical view

Rykin wrote:
pandasuit wrote:
Jonman wrote:
pandasuit wrote:

If you run WinDirStat with elevated privileges it can see hidden files including Windows app data. This is how I discovered that some Game Pass games I uninstalled were still using 100GB of data on my SSD.

Turns out that if you've moved a game pass game between drives (using the app move feature of Windows) it doesn’t always uninstall cleanly. Or at least they didn’t used to. Haven’t tried it in a while.

Windirstat taught me to hate the Xbox app becuase it doesn't' use sensible names for folders so it' not obvious which game that 100Gb is from

Yes totally. Although that new single archive file app format seems to be for more than just games these days. I think they are moving all new Windows apps that direction over time.

I installed my Game Pass games to a secondary drive and it created three empty directories and one directory that seem to have the game files and god knows what else at the root level of the drive. One of the empty directories has permission set in such a way that I can't view the contents even with admin level access. At least with Steam and Epic I was just able to make a couple of folders and they store everything in them.

There are a bunch of folders on Windows I can’t get access to without forcing ownership changes and other permissions changes I really don’t want to do on OS folders. Running windirstat in elevated mode it was able to see those files and let me manipulate them. Kinda surprised me TBH. There are other cases I still cant figure out in Windows (usually when the files are owned by another admin) and the solution there is 100% loading up a Unix/Linux derivative and viewing the files from there.

Mac users who want something similar should try DaisyDisk.

CaptainCrowbar wrote:

Mac users who want something similar should try DaisyDisk.

Ooh, thanks for that. WinDirStat looks an awful lot like an app I had on my Mac years ago. At some point it didn't keep up with Apple's OS updates though... or I didn't keep up with the updates, or something. My system died and I didn't find it to reinstall on the replacement. I'm keen to have that functionality back.

misplacedbravado wrote:

Try WinDirStat.

And I'm glad to have it in Windows too. Thank you!

quote is not edit

Just to pile on: Ever since Spacemonger went... I don't even remember, scammy subscription model probably? WinDirStat is where it's at!

Oh, and for Macs, OmniDiskSweeper was my go-to. It doesn't do any fancy visualizations but it's free and advertised as working on OS versions from 10.4 up through 10.15.

Isn't it amazing how much clutter builds up on a drive?

The Mac Finder can display directory sizes which makes it easier to manage IMHO. I used to never use that feature because it seemed to slow everything down but these days on an SSD it isn't so bad. I haven't booted my HackMac up in months at this point though. I need to backup its files and then retire it (it is an old i5-760).

kergguz wrote:
misplacedbravado wrote:

Try WinDirStat.

Thanks!

Turns out Fortnite was taking up almost 100GB. Who knew? It was only installed for the occasional game with my son, so that's a good candidate to shift over to my HDD. I honestly thought it took up about 10GB.

What is a good value in wireless headphones for gaming? Low latency a must.

When gaming and/or streaming from my PC I use a condenser mic on an arm and I usually wear a pair of wired headphones.

Lately I’ve been thinking of trying wireless headphones.

I had some old Turtle Beach ones that I believe use RF. They sound pretty terrible compared to my good headphones but they are convenient. The main issue is they get a lot of interference which causes clicking and sound drops.

I decided to look around for something new. I see lots of wireless gaming headsets for more money than I want to spend and looking at RTINGS they are mostly mediocre sounding unless you spend a lot anyways.

There are tons of Bluetooth headphones around but my experience is the latency isn’t ideal for gaming. Aptx low latency doesn’t seem well supported and my desktop doesn’t support it unless I buy a new adaptor. All together that ends up being more expensive than many of those wireless gaming headsets.

So what’s a good value in wireless gaming headphones these days? Is that even a thing anymore or are these wireless headsets with mics the only modern option? I have no intention of using the mic on them so it seems like a waste.

If you want low latency and sound quality, use USB connected headphones on their own USB bus. Wireless is just good for reducing the number of cables on your desk, and if you have a lot of devices, interference can be an issue. That’s my take.

Edit - I realize this sounds dismissive. Wireless is *great* for general purpose use with portable devices - laptops, tablets, phones - because it reduces the footprint and clutter needed to use those devices wherever you need them. But for a fixed desktop, there’s no real advantage, and for low latency gaming, it could even be a problem if you don’t set everything up with a bit of thought to the data path.

"good value" is subjective. I'm rocking a pair of Steelseries Arcts 7's (wireless RF with a dongle, no detectable latency), which are pricey for gamer headphones, but not pricey for audiophile headphones.

And if you're remotely concerned about audio quality, a headset mic isn't going to come close to a decent mic on an arm.

---

My question:

I have two monitors on my desk, I normally use one for my personal PC, and one for my work laptop.

However, I want to have the work monitor be dual purpose, so I can two-screen it up on my personal PC.

What I've found is that if I hook an HDMI cable from my personal PC to the 2nd monitor (which then has two HDMI cables running into it), my personal PC desktop still spans across both screens even when the 2nd monitor is displaying the input from the work laptop.

Is there a way for my personal PC to detect that it's input on the 2nd monitor is not in current use, and auto-revert my desktop to a single screen? Otherwise I've got windows open on that phantom screen.

I already have good wired headphones and a good mic on an arm connected to this PC when quality is my priority.

What I’m looking for is something wireless when convenience is more important than quality which I’ve found to be true a lot more lately while gaming. The problem is I don’t intend to pay hundreds of dollars for mediocre sounding headphones with a mediocre mic I won’t use just for that convenience.

I’m kinda lamenting the fact that reasonably priced low latency wireless headphones don’t seem to be a thing right now and hoping I’m wrong. Cheap mediocre sounding Bluetooth is a thing but has too much latency. Expensive low latency mediocre sounding gaming headsets are a thing but that feels like a big waste of money.

After I posted my question I dug around in my old parts closet and found an even older pair of Turtle Beach wireless headphones I had that use infrared of all things. What a blast from the past. Still sound mediocre but latency appears to be low and I already own them so no cost. They appear to be falling apart tho. The fake leather is flaking and falling off. Still worth a try. I hate how these old Turtle Beach headsets mess with the sound profile to try to enhance specific sounds. It was cool when I used to play CoD on Xbox 360 and I needed to hear footsteps above everything but now it’s annoying.

The other thing I did was look around more for some value brand wireless headsets to see what else exists. Turns out Mpow also makes 2.4Ghz wireless gaming headsets for PC and Amazon had them on a big discount. If I know I’m getting mediocre sound and all I care about is low latency and price I figured it would be worth a try and I can always return them if I hate them.

Jonman wrote:

My question:

I have two monitors on my desk, I normally use one for my personal PC, and one for my work laptop.

However, I want to have the work monitor be dual purpose, so I can two-screen it up on my personal PC.

What I've found is that if I hook an HDMI cable from my personal PC to the 2nd monitor (which then has two HDMI cables running into it), my personal PC desktop still spans across both screens even when the 2nd monitor is displaying the input from the work laptop.

Is there a way for my personal PC to detect that it's input on the 2nd monitor is not in current use, and auto-revert my desktop to a single screen? Otherwise I've got windows open on that phantom screen.

I don’t think it can auto detect but you can just hit Windows-P on your personal PC and choose the single monitor option from the sidebar that pops up to switch back to only one monitor. You’ll have to do the same to switch back to multi-monitor when you want to use both again. It’s usually pretty fast to flip between monitor configurations. Make sure you’ve set the correct monitor as your primary display.

If you want something more physical you can get a $10 HDMI 2-to-1 switch that physically swaps which input cable goes to the monitor on a button press.

pandasuit wrote:

I don’t think it can auto detect but you can just hit Windows-P on your personal PC and choose the single monitor option from the sidebar that pops up to switch back to only one monitor. You’ll have to do the same to switch back to multi-monitor when you want to use both again. It’s usually pretty fast to flip between monitor configurations. Make sure you’ve set the correct monitor as your primary display.

If you want something more physical you can get a $10 HDMI 2-to-1 switch that physically swaps which input cable goes to the monitor on a button press.

I didn't know about the Win-P shortcut - and a perfect hardware backup for cheap if it doesn't quite do what I want.

What I was hoping to avoid was rummaging around the back of my case with an HDMI cable every time I switched, and you've given me perfect answers for that - thanks!

Jonman wrote:
pandasuit wrote:

I don’t think it can auto detect but you can just hit Windows-P on your personal PC and choose the single monitor option from the sidebar that pops up to switch back to only one monitor. You’ll have to do the same to switch back to multi-monitor when you want to use both again. It’s usually pretty fast to flip between monitor configurations. Make sure you’ve set the correct monitor as your primary display.

If you want something more physical you can get a $10 HDMI 2-to-1 switch that physically swaps which input cable goes to the monitor on a button press.

I didn't know about the Win-P shortcut - and a perfect hardware backup for cheap if it doesn't quite do what I want.

What I was hoping to avoid was rummaging around the back of my case with an HDMI cable every time I switched, and you've given me perfect answers for that - thanks!

I use a Fosmon bidirectional 2-to-1 switch like this one: https://www.amazon.ca/Fosmon-Bi-Dire...

I’m currently using it in single input multi output mode so I can swap my XboneX between two different displays quickly but it works great in the other direction as well to flip between 2 devices on a single monitor.

If you aren’t using 4k or high refresh rates you can get a cheaper model that isn’t HDMI 2.0 but I needed that because I’m running 1440p at 120hz and I plan to use it for my Xbox Series X when I get one.

On the topic of second monitors, does anyone have any experience using software to use a tablet PC as a second monitor? I know there's a few choices, but would appreciate some opinions.

Mantid wrote:

On the topic of second monitors, does anyone have any experience using software to use a tablet PC as a second monitor? I know there's a few choices, but would appreciate some opinions.

Check out Mouse Without Borders. It's a Microsoft Garage project and it works perfectly. I have a Surface next to my monitor and it feels just like a second monitor, even though it's a separate pc.

I get how the tech works, but it still feels magical to use it.

PaladinTom wrote:
Mantid wrote:

On the topic of second monitors, does anyone have any experience using software to use a tablet PC as a second monitor? I know there's a few choices, but would appreciate some opinions.

Check out Mouse Without Borders. It's a Microsoft Garage project and it works perfectly. I have a Surface next to my monitor and it feels just like a second monitor, even though it's a separate pc.

I get how the tech works, but it still feels magical to use it.

Which is exactly what I’m trying to do. I’ll give it a look.

Anyone ever had a smart phone that couldn't download images, updates, resources, etc from within an app while on wifi, but worked totally normally on cellular? Other devices in the house work fine, so it is definitely the phone. In twitter, images and videos never load. In the app store updates never download, etc.

Sounds like some bizarre setting within the phone. I know there's settings that limit what you download over 3g/4g maybe there's also one that does the same on wi fi? Very bizarre and if you can't find anything like that a reset is about the only other way to go.