Russ' Do It Yourself Home Workshop

Finding Fixes to Just About Anything and Everything

Upgrading the Aerator on a Septic Systems

Posted by Russell Wright on August 8, 2015

I know!  Let’s design a septic aerator with an electric motor that sits down in a very caustic environment where the motor and bearings will only last 2-3 years so the homeowner has to constantly replace it.  And when it floods, it’s always good to have electrical power sitting under water!  NOT!

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This is the stupidest design in the world.  Poor idiots at Norweco.  They haven’t figured out that electricity and water don’t mix.

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No problem…let’s upgrade!  First you need to get an aeration stone like is used on a pond.  I found one on eBay.  It’s a 7" dome diffuser airstone.  It was about $50 or so.

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Next, put it on a long length of (properly measured) PVC.  I chose to use electrical conduit.

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Next, attach a PVC union for easy installation and removal.

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Now you’re getting the idea.  The assembly will be lowered into the chamber where aeration occurs.  Notice the notch taken out of the side of the concrete collar for the air supply line.

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You can lower it all the way.

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And make the final attachment with the PVC union.  This is where prior measuring and cutting is important!

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Now it’s all attached.  See the old electrical outlet?  It’s dead now.

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How did the air line get there?  A little digging!

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Just a shallow trench.  I think it took me about 45 minutes.  I’m pretty good with a spade.

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Covering it back up.

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Watering the sod back down.

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The final attachment to an aeration pump.  This is a very standard pump I got off eBay.  It’s a Hiblow HP-80 and was $248.00.  A little tubing and fittings and a bit of wiring (it runs all the time) and you’re done.  At this point in time it’s been running for over a year with no issues.  There’s a filter you have to clean and/or replace once or twice a year, but no big deal.  My effluent has never been cleaner!  That’s a nice way of saying, "My @#$% don’t stink!"

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Upgrading the Plumbing and Hardware on an SR Smith Slide

Posted by Russell Wright on August 8, 2015

Yes, we have a slide…and a diving board…on our pool.  OMG!  Now that we’ve established that and the fact that we are not going to remove them, here’s my latest upgrade.

The slide is about 15 years old and empties into our salt water pool.  The original plumbing on it is in the form of 1/4" tubing attached to recirculating water coming from the pool pump.  However, it’s never worked very well because of the pressure drop from the 3/4" PVC to the 1/4" flexible tubing with which the slide is plumbed.  In fact, at one time, I added a spigot from our irrigation system which worked pretty well, but the primary problem remained.

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The primary problem is the 1/4" tubing never seems to last more than one season.  We’re in Texas and it’s hot!  Between the heat and the (somewhat) cold (yes, it does freeze at times), the tubing becomes fragile and breaks, necessitating its replacement every season.  So, when the kids are over and it’s broken, a hose gets dragged to the slide and tied to and draped over a handle.  Not cool.  Plus, whether it’s the hose or the spigot, it’s up to me to turn off the fresh water supply, since no one ever seems to be able to do that when they are done.

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My goal was to reduce the pressure loss by using a larger main line up and down most of the length of the slide.  You can see my attachment of 1/2" PVC to the 3/4" PVC main line.  After the reduction fitting, I used a removable PVC union fitting so the entire extension can be easily detached and removed, if necessary.

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Under the slide I provided a cutoff valve so it can be easily turned on and off at the slide.  There is also a master Jandy valve located at the pool equipment.

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I was originally going to plumb it with 1/2" flexible PVC, but it seemed to be a bit difficult to get 11 feet of it without purchasing a 50 foot role.  Home Depot and Lowes don’t stock the small stuff.  So I finally decided to use rigid 1/2" PVC.  In order to make it contour to the slide, I used my heat gun and patiently heated it up until it was flexible enough to form into the correct arcs.

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Probably the neatest thing I did was take a PVC cap and drill and tap a hole that would accept one of those quick connect 1/4" tubing bulkhead connectors.  I used plenty of Teflon tape on the threads and screwed it into the end of the modified PVC cap.  This provides me with a quick way to make a short 1/4" tubing connection from the 1/2" PVC to the 1/4" slide fitting.

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I did this at both the bottom and top, leaving enough room so the 1/4" tubing has room to flex and bend.  On the bottom, I replaced the bulkhead connection on the slide (since it broke) with another 1/4" tubing quick connect, so replacing this short piece of tubing literally takes about 30 seconds.  The lower slide nozzle correctly screws on the end of this quick connect bulkhead fitting.

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Here’s the top.  The tubing is a bit longer, but still quick and easy to replace.

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An underside look at the top.

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Next, I replaced all the hardware with stainless steel hardware.  I ended up having to cut some of the bolts because the salt had corroded them so badly.  My hardware was ordered from Albany County Fasteners on the web.  Love these guys and their stainless hardware.  Shipping is free with a $25 order!  Or you can purchase stuff from them on eBay.  Here you can see the carriage bolts replaced with stainless.

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This is essentially a stainless lag screw replacement.  I had to go a bit bigger because the aluminum rail was stripped, probably during the initial installation.

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I had an issue with the aluminum handles being loose.  Problem was the aluminum attachment block in the handle appears to be held in place with epoxy of some kind that had lost its grip.  I re-engineered it with a through hole and stainless hardware. 

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I also had to drill and tap out the broken screw that comes up from the bottom of the slide.  When I attempted to remove these screws that hold the handles in place, they promptly broke.  In fact one was broken already which was the cause of one of the handles being loose (very unsafe).  Not surprising, they were completely rusted.  These screws fit into the bottom of the aluminum block that extends from the handles.  They are not going anywhere now!

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The complete project was probably around $50 in hardware and supplies and the results were great.  There is now plenty of water that recirculates through the pool and on to the slide with significantly less pressure drop.  It used to dribble…now it sprays!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Outlook 2010 Stops Receiving Exchange Email

Posted by Russell Wright on April 15, 2015

If you have Outlook hooked up to an Exchange mail box (Office 365 in this case) and mail stops dropping into your inbox, try this.

Right-click on the offending Inbox and click Properties…

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Under the General tab, click Clear Offline Items.  This will empty the cache.  In a scary fashion, all your inbox mail will disappear and (should) will re-sync with Exchange and re-populate.

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Hopefully this will clear up your issue.  It did mine.

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Where do I get GACUTIL.EXE?

Posted by Russell Wright on February 10, 2015

If you find yourself needing to use the GACUTIL program to install some "assemblies" (DLLs) in the global assembly cache, you can get it from the Windows SDK.  Now, when you get ready to install, if you don’t need all the other stuff, select the following options.

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By selecting only the .NET Framework 4.5 Software Development Kit you will get GACUTIL.EXE installed in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v8.0A\bin\NETFX 4.0 Tools folder, at a disk cost of < 75 MB.  Much better and much quicker than over 500 MB!

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Entering the Maintenance or Inspection Mode on a Prius (1st Gen and 2nd Gen)

Posted by Russell Wright on January 25, 2015

I’m re-posting these instructions from elearnaid.com with a little clean up as I just used them on my 2002 and 2005 Prii.  Additionally, Art’s Automotive has some good info on repairing the MFD (multi-function display), aka EMV. 

Update 2015-01-26

Oh, by the way, I found you can enable this mode while driving (so far, on my 2005), so it doesn’t appear the parking brake is a requirement to enable inspection mode.

The original instructions from elearnaid.com, with a little cleanup

  • The transmission should be in Park with the ignition off.
  • Engage the parking brake (this seems to be an interlock of sorts).
  • Turn the ignition on
    • (2001 – 2003) Turn ignition switch to ON (do not start the engine).
    • 2004+ Press the Start button twice (don’t depress the brake and start the engine).
  • Push Display button.
    • (2001 – 2003) Top rocker to the right of the radio that is labeled “Display.”
    • 2004+ Top right button next to the screen that is labeled “Display.”
  • "DISPLAY" will now appear in the upper left corner of your screen.)
  • Push on the upper left (1) of the display just inside the box, withdraw, push on the lower left of the display (2) and withdraw (see picture for hidden button locations).  Do this slowly and deliberately.
  • Do this three times (or more). Keep trying until the screen changes. If the word "Display" in the upper left hand corner of the screen goes away hit the display switch again.

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  • Push on Menu in upper right of display screen.
  • Push on Display Check
  • Push on Vehicle Signal Check
  • You will see the 12 volt voltage displayed.
  • With no electrical accessories on including lights the voltage should be fluctuate between 12.2 and 11.9. The lower the voltage, the less of a charge your battery currently has. If the voltage is low do not proceed as the load test might totally discharge your battery. (If you see a voltage around 13.5-13.8 you are seeing voltage from the high voltage battery being converted to around 13.5-13.8 in an attempt to recharge your battery. This normally does not occur till after you start the engine but might occur earlier if the battery is very drained.)
  • You can also test the battery by turning on the headlights, rear window heater and the heater fan. For a new battery the voltage would be around 11.3. If the voltage drops below 10.2 it should definitely be replaced. For voltages in between the lower the voltage, the lower current charge of your battery.

Here are some of the screens displayed on the 2002 Prius.

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Here are pictures of the 2005 Prius display.

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Audio H/U (Head Unit?) says CHEK.  Press the CHEK button to view the codes and clear them.

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A bunch of old codes.  Who knows when they occurred?

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Pressing some more CHEK buttons.

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Pressing and holding the Code CLR (clear) button to erase the stored codes.

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Codes cleared!

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More codes to clear!

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Display with the headlights turned off.

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Display with the headlights lights turned on.

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Cisco VPN Client Encrypted and Decrypted Packets are Zero–No DNS Resolution on Windows 7

Posted by Russell Wright on September 26, 2014

This problem has been killing me!  I’ve searched and searched and finally came across this article (and a fix that actually works!):

http://hydrous.net/weblog/2009/10/28/force-windows-to-use-a-vpns-dns-server

Here’s the background.

As a consultant, I have multiple VPN clients at any given time loaded on multiple machines.  In this case it was my old trusty Dell D830 (upgraded with an SSD for like-new performance) that was giving me fits.  At some point in time the Cisco VPN client got to the point it was able to connect, but I could not access any resources on the client’s network.  Basically, there is no DNS resolution and nothing would ping or connect.  When you start looking around at the VPN Client Statistics, you notice the Packets Encrypted and Decrypted values are 0…they never change. 

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In this screen shot, you’ll see they are NOT zero, which means things are working again!

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Well, how do you fix this?  It appears it has to do with the binding order of the Cisco VPN adapter you see in your Network Connections. 

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Checking out the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Tcpip\Linkage and finding the Bind property, you can open it up and see a bunch of devices and their GUIDs.

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Now the trick is to be able to look at this list and determine which one(s) belong(s) to the Cisco VPN adapter and move it/them to the top of the list.

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One of the ways to do this is to navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces key and start clicking through the short list, while paying attention to potentially identifiable information in the right pane.  Usually this is in the form of a NameServer, which you can generally find in the properties of the network adapter after you’ve made a connection to the VPN server and the VPN network adapter has been enabled.

Now, it appears, at least in my case, that there are a couple of entries that look suspicious.  They were suspicious because they were both subnets that are used within the VPN network adapter configuration for this client, i.e. IP address beginning with 172.x.x.x and name servers in the 10.10.x.x range.  What I found was a 172.26.x.x NameServer and a 10.10.x.x NameServer and I adjusted them so they were at the top of the list, with the 172.26.x.x entry at the top and the 10.10.x.x entry just below it.  I’m not sure if one of these is just a bad entry that could be deleted, but for the time being I’m leaving them both in, until such time I can have a better determination.

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I fired up the VPN, it connected and, low and behold, the packets were encrypting and decrypting again!  DNS name resolution was working!  All’s well in Cisco VPN land, once again.

 

Search terms:

Cisco VPN connects but doesn’t work
No DNS resolution on Cisco VPN
Encrypt and Decrypt not working Cisco VPN client
Connect to VPN but can’t access any network resources

Posted in Computer Software, Networking | 1 Comment »

Fix: LG TV Remote Control Suddenly Stops Working

Posted by Russell Wright on August 27, 2014

Most mornings I get up and work out in my "workout" room where I have an older (circa 2000?) LG plasma TV hung on the wall. 

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Well, I push the button on the remote and nothing happens.  I can see the light on the remote coming on with each press of the button, so I feel relatively certain the remote is not the issue.  However, I took the batteries out and tested them anyway.  They were just fine.

The fact that this happened overnight had me puzzled.  I searched the web and found many people discussing this issue, with many replacing the IR receiver in the TV.  There was also discussion about how the output voltage of the IR receiver varied…sometimes low and sometimes high.  Well, in one of these threads I ran across the "remote control in" jack issue posted by vp123ca.  This made some sense.  There is a switch in the "remote control in" jack that disconnects the front remote sensor when a "remote" remote sensor is plugged in.  Over time, the switch corrodes and disconnects the sensor on the front of the TV.  Due to the age of the TV, I found this to be completely plausible.  But, I wasn’t even sure if I had one of these "remote control in" jacks.

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A quick inspection of the back of the TV validated that it did indeed have a "remote control in" jack!

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So, I got my trusty can of contact cleaner out and "spritzed" it.

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I sprayed a bit of contact cleaner in the hole and then used a male 1/8" jack and worked it in and out (sounds a little risqué’) to facilitate the cleaning.  The results?  FIXED!

Posted in Audio and Video | 7 Comments »

Fix OneDrive/SkyDrive on Windows 8.1 Using syncDriver

Posted by Russell Wright on June 24, 2014

Oh man!  Are you tired of this giant screw-up with OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive)?  I’m tired of wasting my time with MS and reading their non-solutions.  When I found syncDriver referenced in the link above, I decided this might be the fix I’m looking for.  It’s small, it’s simple…and it’s an application…not a part of the operating system!

I installed it, fired it up, told it where to sync the files (c:\users\rwright\onedrive) in a folder I provisioned myself, and it was off to the races!

Look!  It has a user interface!  It actually tells you what’s going on!

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Cool…options!  Exactly what you would expect.

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And…oh boy…wait for this!  You can choose the folders you want to sync!

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Need some proxy-ing to get in/out of your environment?  Thar it is!

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Look, it’s in your tray…because it is…wait for it…an application!

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And look-ee here.  It’s got a right-click menu…just like a reel application!

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So far, so good.  More to come.

2014-06-25 Update:

syncDriver is operating well and I have moved all my documents from my “broken” SkyDrive folder in my old user profile to my new OneDrive, powered by syncDriver, folder in my new user profile.  I used WinDiff to compare the two directories to validate I wasn’t missing anything…except for those in the old SkyDrive folder that hadn’t been kept up-to-date.

2015-07-17 Update:

Okay, now to turn off the original OneDrive sync completely refer to this article.  Basically you are editing this registry setting.

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Skydrive]
"DisableFileSync"=dword:00000001

2016-05-12 Update:

Well, my OneDrive has been broken on my Yoga for several months and I just got to looking at it.  syncDriver could not log into my OneDrive account.  However, my OneDrive account and my credentials were just fine.  I was getting an error, “Your IT department made a change that prevents you form syncing your personal OneDrive on this computer” when I viewed the OneDrive settings.  I uninstalled syncDriver, thinking I was going to get rid of it and try to go back to the MS OneDrive sync, but then found there’s a group policy that might be causing the problem.

In gpedit.msc (Group Policy editor) find this:  Local Computer Policy | Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | OneDrive | Prevent the usage of OneDrive for file storage.  The default for me was Not Configured.  I changed it to Disabled and that appears to have made OneDrive available again. 

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I re-installed syncDriver and it immediately started syncing once again.  Yay!

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Installing Cisco VPN Client 5.0.07.0440-k9 vs 5.0.07.0290 on Windows 8.1

Posted by Russell Wright on June 20, 2014

Being a consultant, I have about every VPN client known to man installed on my PCs.  Recently I was required to use an older version of the Cisco VPN client for one of my clients’ jobs.  They directed me to 5.0.07.0290.  I wanted to see if I could get it installed on my Windows 8.1 (Lenovo Yoga 13) PC, so here’s what I did.

I initially received an error:  VPN Client install – Error 27850.  Doing some Googling, I found a newer version, 5.0.07.0440-K9, which I found I already had on another Windows 7 PC.  So I decided to try it.  Same error. 

I started mucking with the registry to no avail and then found the secret sauce.  It all has to do with some “Deterministic Networks” drivers.  Apparently Citrix acquired Deterministic Networks some time ago, so the fixes are available on their site.

Download Winfix.exe and DNEUpdate64 (are there still people using 32-bit?) from Citrix (Citrix acquired Deterministic Networks).  Here’s the main page.  http://www.citrix.com/go/lp/dne.html

Winfix:  ftp://files.citrix.com/winfix.exe

DNEUpdate64:  ftp://files.citrix.com/dneupdate64.msi

DNEUpdate 32-bit:  ftp://files.citrix.com/dneupdate.msi

  1. Run Winfix and then reboot.
  2. Run dneupdate64 (and then I rebooted, not sure if you need to)
  3. Download later version of Cisco VPN client (5.0.07.0440).  Again not sure if 5.0.07.0290 will work or not.
  4. Put any PCF files in the new Cisco VPN client installation folder so it picks them up or you can import them later.
  5. Run the Cisco VPN client installation (it should work fine).

The installation ran fine and the connection was good.  No problems. 

Posted in Computer Software, Networking | 4 Comments »

Changing the Location (Moving) OneDrive Folder on Windows 8.1 Doesn’t Work

Posted by Russell Wright on June 3, 2014

Best I can tell, moving the location of your OneDrive folder from one user profile folder to another doesn’t work.

Navigating to my SkyDrive (OneDrive) folder in my former user profile (c:\users\Russell)…

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And attempting to change it to my new profile location, c:\users\rwright\onedrive…

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Selecting “Yes…”

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After a little while of Windows churning…

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Just FYI, I’ve tried moving it to a folder named SkyDrive and OneDrive and both give the same results.

If it can’t be moved here, where can it be moved?  And why?

Here’s the response:

Every Microsoft account (user account) will have it’s own files and settings. At the moment, you are trying to move OneDrive folder to a different Users folder (different user account). This will not be possible due to security reasons related to the Microsoft account that you use to access OneDrive.

Again, each user account will have it’s own OneDrive folder (in case it’s a Microsoft account).

Also, you can’t switch between accounts in the OneDrive app. When you sign in to a PC with your Microsoft account, you’re automatically signed in to OneDrive with that account. You can still get to OneDrive files for a different account by going to the OneDrive website.

For reference:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/onedrive-app-faq

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/onedrive/forum/sdfiles-sdsync/how-do-i-change-the-location-of-the-onedrive/09f3e1f0-38a7-4f09-a71b-d92bbc95cace

Please let us know if you have more queries on Windows.

The reference for moving a OneDrive folder is exactly what I tried to do.

How can I move my OneDrive to a different location on my PC?
  1. Open File Explorer.

  2. Press and hold or right-click OneDrive in the left pane.

  3. Tap or click Properties, and then tap or click the Location tab.

  4. Tap or click Move.

  5. Pick any folder that’s on a drive formatted with the NTFS file system, and then tap or click Select Folder.

  6. In the Move Folder dialog box, tap or click Yes.

 

And more FAQ information:

Can I sign in with a different account to browse a different OneDrive?

You can’t switch between accounts in the OneDrive app. When you sign in to a PC with your Microsoft account, you’re automatically signed in to OneDrive with that account. You can still get to OneDrive files for a different account by going to the OneDrive website.

 

So, what I want to do is use a new domain account for logging on to my PC and simply “link” my domain account to my existing OneDrive account.  Doesn’t sound like a big deal, does it?  Worked fine on Windows 7.

And then, in this OLD response, Edmond_A says to use the “Unlink” function, which of course he doesn’t detail where one finds it or how one runs it, but I can only assume it’s for Windows 7, since it’s so old.

Edmond_A. replied on April 23, 2012

Microsoft Forum Moderator

You must use the Unlink function and go through the first-run experience where you will have the option to change the location of the OneDrive folder on your computer.

 

If you go online, you can see how to remove PCs, but this appears to be for fetching files and is no longer supported on Windows 8.1, so this appears to be a dead end.  I’ll go ahead and remove Tabula from the list of PCs.

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So if I go to the OneDrive settings, it is not obvious how to set an account for OneDrive to use.  Wouldn’t it make sense here to store the account OneDrive uses to log in?  Isn’t that how it worked on Windows 7?

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When I look at my accounts under PC Settings on the metro side, it shows my domain account and my Microsoft account, but no where can I find how to link a OneDrive account back to my PC.

So my question remains.  How do I associate my domain account to my OneDrive account and move its current location, which is under my previous profile?  This should be easy, guys…

 

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