Archive for the ‘Stupid Testing Tricks’ Category

I’m Going to Have a Go at "Testing Screencasts"

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I’ve realized the beauty of screencasts at work recently. About a month ago I spent a week and half giving a training presentation 6 times to train the whole QA team at GoDaddy. After presentation #2 I was bored and felt like a programmed robot. Recently, I decided that screencasting might be a better way of training so many people, so I did one. Success or failure is still to be determined, but I really like the idea of being able to show people how to do something rather than explain in it with a ton of words and expect them to venture out on their own and remember what I told them.


Me: Why not carry that thinking into this blog?
You: Great idea Brent!
Me: Do you really think so? Thanks!
You: Don’t fail me.
Me: Bite me. You want it or not?


I’m adding a “Testing Screencasts” category. Get ready to do some watching and listening. I’ll start small, until I gain some screencasting mojo.


Stupid Testing Trick #4: The Quickest Way to Refresh a Web Page

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Another post yet again inspired by a Google search that lead to my site but I don’t necessarily address directly: “What is the quickest way to refresh a Web Page?”

Answer: The F5 key


How to refresh a Web page without pulling it from the browser’s cache? CTRL + F5


No such thing as a stupid question here at QAInsight.net\QABlog.net\QABlog.com! We all have to start somewhere eh?


Stupid Testing Trick #3: Avoid the Start Menu with the Run window

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I’ve been enjoying the new Start menu “Start Search” feature in Windows Vista which seems to be a cross between the Run command and a Search with intellisense (like Google search). It’s pretty much abolished my old ways of using the Start Menu which was slow and cumbersome: click Start, click Programs, search through a mile long list of programs, click the program menu, and FINALLY click the program. Yeah, like I said… slow. The Vista “Start Search” process is: Windows Key, start to type the program name (intellisense finds it), hit enter (notice, no mouse clicks).


Using this feature and seeing how it fast it can be makes me wonder why I don’t use more of the very similar Run command window in XP or Server 2003 while testing. It’s similar, but not nearly as smart with it’s lack of intellisense.


When testing I spend quite a bit of time in certain Windows applications and navigating to those applications is painful after being spoiled with the Vista feature. The pain grows from a mild finger ache to a flat out flat out smash your finger in the car door throbbing when you do it on a VPC! Working between multiple VPCs, setup different ways, leaves you sometimes without the shortcuts you may have placed on the desktop for speed.


Enter the Run command. Its simple, and I’m almost positive you’ve used it before:


Run command



Windows key+R, type the app name, hit enter. No mouse clicks. Just one caveat: You need to know the app names. I got a list of the application names for my most common apps used during testing and am getting myself in the habit. After an entire day spent in VPCs I’ve decided this the way to go. I’m hooked. To help me get my favorite app names memorized I’ll be putting a tiny cheat sheet on the corner of my monitor. These are the app names I’ll be committing to memory slowly but surely:


Control Panel Apps
System Properties: sysdm.cpl
Add/Remove Programs: appwiz.cpl
Automatic Updates:  wuaucpl.cpl


System Apps
Performance Monitor: Perfmon
Services: Services.msc
Event Viewer: eventvwr
Computer Manger: compmgmt.msc
Task Manager: taskmgr

Common Testing apps
MS Word = winword
MS Excel = excel
MS Paint = mspaint
Notepad = notepad


Again, simple, fast and efficient:


Windows key+R, perfmon, Enter key


Almost like Vista, just a little extra brain power is all.


If you’re not doing it already, get in the habit and save yourself some time. Yeah, yeah, this stuff has been around a long time I know. It’s just hard to get in the habit. Sounds like a fun little QA New Year Resolution doesn’t it?


Here is a large list of Run commands for 117 apps.


Here is a list of all the commands for the Control Panel.


Stupid Testing Trick #2: Which .NET framework rendered the Web page?

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So I’m told…When a Web server that has the 1.1 .NET framework installed as well as the 2.0 framework, if the Web app’s virtual directory is set to utilize 2.0 it’s possible that “issues” could occur and that it could revert back to 1.1 to keep the app running (not too sure what “issues” are). How do you figure out which framework your Web page was created with? Modify the applications web.config’s trace key “enabled” and “pageOutput” parameters to be true and then the “localOnly” to be false:


<trace enabled=”true” requestLimit=”10″ pageOutput=”true” traceMode=”SortByTime” localOnly=”false” />


Once modified, you are then in BIZNESS! View/open the suspect application/Web page in your browser and look at the very bottom of the trace dump. The .NET Framework version will be displayed. It will will look something like this:


Microsoft .NET Framework Version:2.0.50727.42; ASP.NET Version:2.0.50727.42


Have a Stupid Testing Trick? Email me using the “E-Mail” link on the right.


Stupid Testing Trick #1: Quickly access your hosts file

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Today marks the day where QAInsight.net is gonna stir the QA pot, put some fuel on the fire, and add a pinch of spice (ground Cayenne). It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes, I am getting so hot… uhum well…anyway. To pour some vivation into this parched QA terrain called QAInsight.net I’m going to kick-off a new series dubbed “Stupid Testing Tricks”. Each post in the series will be well… a stupid testing trick that is short, uncanny, and helpful. So let’s get the stupid stuff started:


Stupid Testing Trick #1: Quickly access your hosts file


When testing in a browser, there is often a need to edit your hosts file, but traversing the relevant, overpopulated Windows directories to “C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts” is a royal pain. Ease the pain by creating a browser Favorite/Bookmark that points to your hosts file.



  1. From the browser’s Address bar navigate to “C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\”  (or wherever your hosts file is located)
  2. Create a Favorite/Bookmark to this location
  3. Right click the Favorite/Bookmark and click “properties”
  4. Change the “Target” field to C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts (or wherever your hosts file is located)

When you need to edit the hosts file you just click the bookmark and select an application to open it (you will need to do this since the file can’t be permanently assigned to an application due to its lack of an extension).


Have a Stupid Testing Trick? Email me using the “E-Mail” link on the right.


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