Fixing Windows Live Writer to work with WordPress

Like many (or not so many as the case may be) Windows Live Space users, I was over the moon when I heard that Spaces was shutting down and we were given the option to migrate to WordPress.

The migration seemed to go really well and I was soon tweaking with all my settings and modifying a few articles & pages etc.

During the migration there was a handy link to update your Windows Live Writer settings. I clicked it and it seemed to do something. However, when I went into Writer it kept giving me errors and asking for my username & password. It wouldn’t let you change the blog account settings either as it was trying to use my Windows Live account for authentication.

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Welcome Windows Live Spaces Bloggers

Welcome readers and all fellow Live Space bloggers.

I have just upgraded to WordPress from Windows Live Spaces so please give me a while to get my house nice and tidy for visitors. I’ve been really impressed with how simple it was. I thought I would blog a guide on how to upgrade but it was so simple I don’t think there is a need! I especially love how all my comments and photos were transferred as well as the 301 redirects that were put in to make sure all traffic to gets transferred over here. So a big pat on the back to the Microsoft & WordPress teams.

If you’re new (like me) to WordPress, I suggest you subscribe to the WordPress blog. It has loads of useful articles and news on any new features. See the article below for links to the WordPress “Getting Started” guide

Welcome Windows Live Spaces Bloggers We’re excited to announce that is now the default blogging platform for Windows Live Spaces users. We’ve worked with our partners at Microsoft to create a simple migration service for Spaces bloggers to easily bring all their posts, comments, and photos to Over a six month period, beginning today, Windows Live Spaces users will have the option to move their blogs to To make this possible, we’ve created … Read More

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Pinning websites in Internet Explorer 9 without filling your taskbar

Beta 1 of Internet Explorer 9 [IE9] has been released and with comes a bold (if incomplete) new interface. You can read all about it and download it via the “Beauty of the Web” site and there is a good review over on Engadget. I was using IE9 as my default browser for about 2 days until I missed my Google Chrome spellcheck & extensions too much and switched back. I love the improvements in IE9 beta1 and it’s great for your everyday user but for a power user like me I need the power of Chrome.

One thing I do still use it for is web apps. By that, I mean websites that take the place of traditionally installed software (e.g. GMail, Skydrive, Facebook etc.). With IE9 you can pin a website to your Windows 7 taskbar or Start Menu and you get cool jump-list functionality and a dedicated browser window for your app. Again, I don’t want to re-write what others have said so here is Paul Thurrott’s feature focus. To get this working on a basic level took me about 10 mins for a website I help out with. To get fancier things like notifications overlays or different categories is a bit more in depth but should be no issue for a proper web developer (see how over on MSDN).

The Problem

As much as I like the “Pinned Sites” feature, I already have 8 real apps pinned to my Windows 7 taskbar. I didn’t really want to take up more space. I could pin them to the Start Menu instead but that seemed like unnecessary clutter. I still wanted access to the pinned sites just without pinning them!

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Fixing corrupt icons pinned to the Windows 7 taskbar

imageWindows 7 features a greatly improved taskbar. One of the new features is the ability to pin favourite programmes for easy access.

I had a problem that one of my apps would display a generic “app-not-found” icon if I pinned it to the taskbar. The app in question was my twitter client of choice DestroyTwitter, which I had recently updated. I tried changing the icon through the pinned shortcut properties but that didn’t stick after a reboot. I knew there must be some kind of cache that was telling Windows to look in the wrong location for pinned icons. So I decided to have a dig in the registry using the excellent NirSoft tool RegScanner. It came up with a couple of entries which lead me to key  [HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerTaskband]. By removing the “Favorites” value I was able to get Windows to wipe all of my pinned apps so I could start from scratch.

*Update: The problem did re-appear, see below

For those wishing to reproduce this fix follow these instructions

  • Open the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
  • Navigate to HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerTaskband
  • Backup (export) the “Taskband” key
  • Delete the binary value “Favorites”
  • Restart the explorer.exe process (or restart your computer)

This will leave you with no pinned items on your taskbar. You can then re-pin your favourite apps to the taskbar and they should all have the correct icons Smile


It seems that this didn’t actually fix my problem permanently. I did find, however, another location to troubleshoot the pinned shortcuts. There is a hidden folder at “C:Users%USERNAME%AppDataRoamingMicrosoftInternet ExplorerQuick LaunchUser PinnedTaskBar”. You may recognise it as a familiar folder path to the Quick Launch toolbar from older versions of Windows.

For some reason, it seems that every time you pin an app to the taskbar it will create a new shortcut.

TO try to fix it again I did the following

  1. Deleted all shortcuts in “C:Users%USERNAME%AppDataRoamingMicrosoftInternet ExplorerQuick LaunchUser PinnedTaskBar”
  2. Delete all values in “HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerTaskband”
  3. Restart Explorer.exe process.

This got rid of all my pinned items and only active programmes showed up in the Taskbar. Everything seems to be back to normal now so Fingers crossed

Getting Outlook 2010 to read your emails out loud

I stumbled across a feature of Outlook 2010 today and as well as being great fun it could also come in handy for people with accessibility issues so I thought I would share it

You can add a “Speak” button to the Quick Access Toolbar (or a custom ribbon) that will enable Outlook to read your email aloud Continue reading