How to Turn Off AutoFit Table Columns Feature in Word

Microsoft Word will auto adjust table column widths to fit the content you are entering. This is the default setting for a Word table. There are times you may not want this, instead, you want to control the column widths.

The default setting may push the table beyond the right margin or a column widens unnecessarily.

So, let’s see how to turn off AutoFit option and do table adjustments yourself.

This is for Office 365 Microsoft Word on PCs, Macs and similar platforms. Other versions of Word will be similar.

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Turn Off AutoFit Feature

To turn off this feature, first, place your cursor anywhere in the table you want to change.

Next, go to the Layout tab located in right hand side, not to be confused with the other Layout tab to the left side of the screen. Note! This option only appears when you are in a table. Refer to below image:

Word AutoFit 1

Now, click AutoFit and select the Fixed Column Width option. See below image:

Word AutoFit 2

You can now drag the column borders to your desired width. The column borders you set will stay that way even if you enter longer text into them. See following image:

Word AutoFit 3

Now, you can control Word’s table column widths. That’s it.

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How to Send a Message with Google Maps

By using Google Maps you can find the location of a restaurant, store or some other company. How about asking the business a question? In some cases, you can do so through Google Maps. If the entity supports Google Maps messaging feature, you can send a message to that company. If the company responds, you can carry on a back-and-forth conversation; like texting, but instead you are using Google Maps.

To date, this is the most unusual post I have written. Its relatively unknown to the business community. I recommend you try out my example before searching for a business in your area that uses Google Maps for messaging.

This feature is for your iOS (iPhone/iPad) or Android device or whatever smart device supports Google Maps

If you haven’t already done so, download and install Google Maps to your device.

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Search for a Business

  1. Launch Google Maps
  2. Search for a business you want to use or visit. In my example, I am searching for “Lobster House”. Refer to following image:
Google Maps 1
Search for Lobster House

If using my example, select the first entry. Refer to following screenshot:

Google Maps 2
Selecting First Entry for Lobster House

View the Overview Tab

Swipe Up below the map till you see the Overview tab, like the following image:

Google Maps 3
Overview Tab for Lobster House

If the company supports Google Maps messaging, in the center of the screen you will see a link that says “Contact us now

Type in Your Message

  1. Tap on this link
  2. Type in your message and tap the Send icon. A pertinent question might be reserving a table at a certain time instead of my example. Refer to following screen:
Google Maps 5
Messaging Lobster House

In my example of the “Lobster House”, they usually respond within a few hours. So, revisit the “Lobster House” for their reply by:

Search for Messages

  1. Searching for the business
  2. Swipe Up to view the Overview Tab
  3. Tap the 3 dots in upper right hand corner. Refer to following image:
Google Maps 6
Check for a Response

Reply to Messages

You will see the following screen. Tap on Message to view their reply. You can then reply back to the business if you need to.

Google Maps 7
The Message Screen

Whats challenging about this feature is finding a business that supports Google Maps messaging. Unfortunately, many do not. But, if a business of interest does offer messaging, you can use this feature to obtain more information about the company or perhaps, setup a reservation.

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How to Add Captions in Word

Word’s Caption feature allows you to insert captions after figures, tables or equations in your document. You can choose to have Word insert them automatically or do it yourself manually. Lets learn how to add and edit captions to set apart elements in your document.

You are not limited to figures, tables or equations; you can create a new label like Picture or Photo. If you are using Chapters in your document, you can add the Chapter number to your caption. Almost any object or inserted item in Word can be captioned.

This is for PCs, Macs and similar platforms that support Microsoft Word

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Add a Caption

There are two ways to add a caption:

  1. Select the figure/table/equation, right click and select Insert Caption. (Note! This method works only for figures and tables, not equations.)
  2. Select the figure/table/equation, go to the References tab on the ribbon and select Insert Caption. See below image:
Word Caption 1

If you don’t select the object and choose References > Insert Caption the caption will be inserted where the cursor is placed.

Your Caption Options

The Caption dialog box will now open, with a number of options for you to set. Refer to below image;

Word Caption 2

Below are the options to chose from:

Captions – type in the label you want

Label – or more correctly caption prefix.  Choose table, equation or figure. This will automatically add that label to the caption.

New Label – If you want your captions to have a label other than the ones provided, you can add a new one from the New Label option. (For example, Word provides the options Equation, Figure and Table, but if you are including photos in your document, you may prefer to label them Picture or Photo.)

Exclude Label from Captions – check this box and no label/prefix will be included. The caption will just contain the number and the text that you enter.

Position – caption to appear above or below the object. Only works if the object is selected before Insert Caption. Otherwise this field will be disabled and the caption placed where you have set your cursor.

AutoCaption certain types of objects can be automatically captioned when they are included in a document.

The caption will now appear in the specified location, with its number automatically allocated. See following image:

Word Capture 3
Figure 1- View of LZ Cindy from Searchlight Hill

Numbering Options for Your Captions

If you want to change the format of the numbering system on your captions, do this by clicking the Numbering button in the Caption dialog box. Refer to below image:

Word Capture 4

The Caption Numbering dialog box will open. See below image:

Word Capture 5

Format: Choose the numbering format you want to use:

  • Numerals (1, 2, 3, 4…)
  • Lowercase letters (a, b, c, d…)
  • Uppercase letters (A, B, C, D…)
  • Lowercase Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv…)
  • Uppercase Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV…)
  • And others depending on the installed language packs.

Include Chapter Number: If your document contains chapters, you can choose to have the numbering restart for each chapter and have the chapter number included in the caption numbering system.

First select the Caption in your Word document. Then you need to link the Style (e.g. Heading 1) with a multi-level list at Home > Paragraph > Multi-Level List > Define Multi-Level List > More. This adds automatic numbering to each style so the captions have a number to show. See following image;

Word Capture 6

Chapter Starts with Style: Select what level of heading you would like to signify a new chapter.

Use Separator:  Choose the separator that you would like to use between the chapter number and the caption number (hyphen, period, colon or em-dash).

Change Your Caption Settings

Changing the caption settings isn’t obvious because right-clicking doesn’t show an option to open the Caption dialog.

The trick is to select the whole caption then References > Captions > Insert Caption. Refer to below image:

Word Caption 7

This opens the Caption dialog with the current settings.

Updating Your Caption Numbering

At the core of captions are field codes. Updating the caption numbering is the same as any other field code updates.

Select the whole document with Ctrl+A then update fields with F9 (or right-click to choose Update Field).

Change Your Caption Text

The text after the caption label can be edited in the document. Just click in the caption text and type as usual. See following image;

Word Caption 8

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How to Backup Facebook Photos and Videos

You have searched for a favorite photo or video on Facebook but are unable to locate it. Facebook has an option to backup most anything saved through its app. This would allow for easier searching instead of scrolling endlessly through Facebook posts.

You may have decided to deactivate your account for health reasons or you just want a backup. There is no such thing as “too many backups”. In my IT career, I have been “burned” by not having adequate backups resulting in lost time in recreating them.

Depending on how long you have been a Facebook user, the backup file can be quite large. If you have limited storage or on a free storage plan for your mobile device, you might consider backing up to a PC or Mac.

Using this post as a guide, I am backing up thirteen years of Facebook photos and videos on a Windows 10 PC. My backup file, in Zip format, was a 1.4 GB file.

This is for PCs, Mac, mobile devices and similar platforms using Facebook

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Accessing Facebook Settings

Launch Facebook. in the upper right hand corner, click on the Account icon. Next, click the Settings & Privacy option. See below image

Facebook Photo Backup 1
The Settings and Privacy option

Next, click on the Settings option. Refer to below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 2
The Settings option

Downloading Your Facebook Information

Then click on Your Facebook Information. See following image:

Facebook Photo Backup 3
The Facebook Information option

Next, click on Download Your Information. See below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 4
Download your information option

Selecting ONLY Photos and Videos

From here, click on Deselect All link. Then select only Photos and Videos option. From this screen there are many options on what to backup. For our purposes, we only want photos and videos. Refer to below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 5
Deselecting all, then selecting only photos and videos option

Once photos and videos have been selected and all other option are unselected, click the Create File button. See below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 6
Clicking the Create File option

Messages and Emails From Facebook

You will receive a pop-up message regarding the creation of your Facebook backup for photos and videos. Refer to below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 7
Facebook response to iyour request

Check your email that is associated with your Facebook account for the file request. See below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 8
Email from Facebook about your request

It may take several hours for Facebook to process your request. When the file is ready, you will receive an email that your file is ready. Follow the directions in the message. Refer to below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 9
Email from Facebook that your backup file is ready

Downloading Your Photos and Videos Backup

Click on the link for Download Your Information. Then, click the Available Copies tab. You should see information about your download file. Now, click the Download button. See following image:

Facebook Photo Backup 10
Download option to your Downloads folder

Facebook will ask you to enter your Password, then click Submit. See below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 11
Submitting your password

Viewing Your Downloaded Zip File via File Explorer

Your photos and videos backup file will be in your Downloads folder in Zip format. Below is a screenshot of my backup file. Notice it contains over 3000 files. Your backuped file number will depend on how often you post photos and videos and how many years on Facebook. Refer to below image:

Facebook Photo Backup 12
An example of your downloaded Facebook photos and videos file

What I would like to see is an option to select a date range for the backup instead of everything.

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Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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How to Remove Malware for Windows

If your Windows computer is being redirected to unwanted sites, advertisements are popping up while you browse the Internet, or a message saying a virus was detected, then it is possible that you have malware installed on your computer.

This is for Windows 7 through 10, also applies to Macs and mobile devices. The wording in this post is for Windows 10

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Malware refers to any type of malicious software that tries to infect a computer or mobile device. Hackers use malware for any number of reasons such as, extracting personal information or passwords, stealing money or preventing owners from accessing their device.

Malware includes computer viruses, ransomware, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, keyloggers, dialers, spyware, adware, malicious BHOs, rogue security software and other malicious programs. The majority of malware threats are usually worms or trojans rather than viruses.

Following are some examples of an infected PC:

  1. Your web browser (e.g., Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome) freezes, hangs or is unresponsive
  2. You get redirected to web pages other than the one you intended to go to
  3. You receive numerous web-browser popup messages
  4. Strange or unexpected toolbars appear at the top of your web browser
  5. Your computer runs slower than usual
  6. Your computer freezes, hangs or is unresponsive
  7. Your computer restarts by itself (but not a restart caused by Windows Updates)
  8. You see unusual error messages (e.g., messages saying there are missing or corrupt files folders)

For several months, I had malware that crashed my PC on a daily basis. I read lots of help articles and followed its advice. I soon came to realize that no one piece of software will remove the malware. In my case, the virus would attach itself to a Dell executable (exe) file. I located the suspected file and renamed it, no luck here. So, I deleted the file; the suspected file would recreate itself with the virus attached. I did a scan of the Registry to find the infected file, it was not found. What the heck is going on? Then I came across an in-depth article on removing malware. In summary, to remove the malware, perform the following:

Restart your machine and stop all running programs

Download, install and run the following programs one at a time in order as shown below. There is a free or trial version for each software. Do not install any third-party tools associated with the installs. The softare title and links are as follows:

Malwarebytes

Avast

HitmanPro

Zemana

Now, restart your machine. The malware should be eliminated. Since this is a one-time removal, uninstall each program. If left installed and active, they will interfere with each other and cause other problems.

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How to Use Word AutoText Feature

Creating and using custom AutoText entries for frequently used phrases is a great way to speed up your content creation in Microsoft Word. By default, Word has very few entries so you may want to add your own. The good news is you can set up these time-savers in just a few clicks!

The software does come with lots of AutoText Document fields, like Author, Company Info, Status and other built-in entries such as Headers, Footers, Tables, Watermarks, etc., that you can choose for your document. You can use these entries in addition to your own AutoText entries for your documents.

Note! Your AutoText entries maintain its formatting when inserted into a document.

This is for PCs, Macs and other platforms that support Word

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Creating an AutoText Entry

To begin, highlight the text in your Word document that you’d like to use to create your new AutoText entry. Refer to below image:

Word AutoText 1
Selecting the text for your AutoText entry

Press Alt+F3 to open the Create New Building Block window. Then, type in a name (within the 32-character limit) for your AutoText entry. Next, click OK. See following image:

Word AutoText 2
Saving your AutoText entry

Your AutoText entry will be saved. Now that was easy.

Using an AutoText Entry

To use your AutoText entry, place your cursor where you want to insert the text in your Word document. Navigate to the Insert tab and click the Explore Quick Parts icon in the Text group. See below image:

Word AutoText 3
Accessing your AutoText

A drop-down menu will be displayed. Hover your pointer over AutoText. Refer to below image:

Word AutoText 4
Selecting the AutoText feature

A list of AutoText entries will appear. Select the one you want to use. See below image:

Word AutoText 5
Inserting your custom AutoText entry

The entry you selected will be inserted into your document.

Deleting an AutoText Entry

If your AutoText list is getting crowded, or you made a mistake when you created a custom entry, you can delete them.

To do so, go back to the Insert tab and select the Text group. Then click the Explore Quick Parts icon, and then hover your pointer over AutoText.

From here, right-click the AutoText entry you want to delete. In the context pop-up menu that appears, click the option Organize and Delete. Refer to following image:

Word AutoText 6
Accessing the Delete option

The Building Blocks Organizer window will be displayed with your AutoText entry highlighted. At the bottom of this dialog box, click on Delete. See below image:

Word AutoText 7
The delete button at the end of the AutoText entries

A message box will appear asking you to confirm the deletion of your entry. To delete this entry, click Yes. Refer to below image:

Word AutoText 8
Confirming your custom AutoText deletion

Now your entry will be deleted. You have successfully adding, inserted and deleted an AutoText entry. That’s it.

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How to Check Your Hard Drive Status

Your hard drive has been acting strange. It’s making clicking or screeching sounds, it’s unable to find files, crashes on boot, slow transfer speed or seems to be moving slowly. Your hard drive is dying.

Since it is a mechanical device it has moving parts unlike a Solid State Device (SSD) which has none. But even a SSD will eventually fail.

Even if your hard drive is healthy, over time, it will die. You should keep an eye on it’s health once in a while for your peace of mind. Let’s see how to do this.

This is for Windows 10 devices and Macs

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The Drive’s SMART Status

Most modern drives have a feature called S.M.A.R. T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) that monitors different drive attributes in an attempt to detect a failing disk. That way, your computer will automatically notify you before data loss occurs and the drive can be replaced while it still remains functional.

Check in Windows

In Windows 10, you can manually check the S.M.A.R.T. status of your drives from the Command Prompt. Just right-click the Start button, select Run, and type “cmd“, then click OK or type “cmd” into the Cortana search bar, then click OK. In the Command Prompt pop-up box, type:

wmic diskdrive get model,status

It will return “Pred Fail” if your drive’s death is imminent; “Bad”, “Unknown” or “Caution” if its time to take care of a drive or “OK” if it thinks a drive is doing fine. Refer to below image:

Hard Drive Status
Checking your hard drives health

Check on a Mac

On a Mac, you can check S.M.A.R.T. status by opening the Disk Utility program, clicking on the drive and looking at “S.M.A.R.T. Status” in the bottom left, which will either read “Verified” or “Failing”.

SMART Status can be Misleading

However, this basic S.M.A.R.T. information can be misleading. You only know when your drive is near death, but you can start to experience problems even if the basic S.M.A.R.T. status is okay.

You can also use Defraggler program I discussed in a previous post. When you use the Analyze feature of the program, it will show your disk health. Click here for the post on using Defraggler.

Manufacture Check

If you want an even deeper, more accurate picture into your drive’s health, check its manufacturer’s website for a dedicated tool; for example, Seagate has SeaTools for its drives, Western Digital has Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for its drives and Samsung has Samsung Magician for its SSDs. These tools can sometimes take into account certain technologies specific to their hard drives and SSDs.

Note! You may find that the SeaTools (Seagate) utility is the only software you will need. In the below image, it can diagnose Samsung, Western Digital as well as Seagate using several methods:

Hard Drive Status 2
SeaTools for Windows options

Is Your Drive Almost Dead

Drives with the “Pred Fail” status won’t necessarily fail tomorrow. They could chug along for a year or be dead as a doornail in a few days if not hours.

If you’re getting warnings, it’s time to back up your files before your drive fails. Failure to act may cost you serious money to recover your data.

Now is not the time for a full backup, however: you don’t want to stress the drive with too many reads or it could fail while you’re backing up. Instead, plug in an external drive and copy your most important files onto it; family photos, work documents and anything else that can’t easily be replaced. Then, once you know those are safe, you can try doing a full drive clone with something like EaseUS Todo Backup Free.

I got a S.M.A.R.T. status of “Pred Fail” on my main hard drive. I quickly backed up my important files to an external drive. I never finished before it died. I tried the trick off turning my desktop on its side, then upside down. I got a little more life from the hard drive. Then I removed the hard drive and gently shook the device. I could hear the spindle sliding; then I knew if was totally dead. But it’s worth trying this trick.

Is Your Drive Dead

If your hard drive has already stopped working, things get a lot tougher and you’ll probably need a professional data recovery service which can cost $1,000 or more. But if you have pricelrss data on the drive, it may be worth it to you.

Prepare for Hard Drive Failure

It’s not a matter of “if” your hard drive will fail; it’s a matter of “when”. All hard drives fail eventually and if you want to avoid losing all your important files, you absolutely have to back up your computer regularly; including when the drive is healthy.

Take some time to set up an automatic, cloud based backup like Google Backup and Sync using Google Drive. It is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from heartache later on. Or at least back up to an external drive using Windows 10 built-in File History Tool.

If your drive failed catastrophically with no warning, you can get back up and running in no time by having an up-to-date backup.

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Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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How to View Excel Statistics

Microsoft Excel is getting a quick summary view of workbook statistics. This simple dialog box includes the boundaries of the sheets, tables, links, formulas and notes.

In a couple of clicks you can now view the workbook statistics.

This is for Excel in Office 365 on PCs and Macs

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First, open an existing Excel workbook. Navigate to the Review tab and click on it. In the menu bar, head to the Proofing group. You will see the icon Workbook Statistics, just click on it to view. Refer to below image:

Excel Workbook Statistics 1

There are details for current sheet and the entire workbook. It is similar to Microsoft Word’s Word Count feature.

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How to Clear Chrome Data

Every once in a while you should delete Chrome’s data for faster load times and to correct erratic behavior. If this is your first time to do this, be patient, it may take a minute or so.

If you’re trying to fix loading or formatting issues to improve your browsing experience on Google Chrome, clearing your data is an excellent place to start.

For example, if Chrome is slow or unresponsive or you change a document like deleting a sentence but the sentence is still there after saving the document, its time to clear your Chrome browser data. Before doing this, log out or exit your running applications. If an application’s behavior is erratic, its recommended you log out instead of just exiting the program.

This is for Google Chrome on multiple platforms

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What Happens When your Data is Deleted?

When you visit a website, it will save (or remember) certain information on your hard or SSD drive. Cookies save a user’s browsing data and cache (stored information) helps webpages load more quickly by remembering images, videos, text and other parts of the webpage from your last visit instead of reloading everything with each visit.

When you clear your data, all information gets deleted. You control how much data is deleted. The load time of previously visited sites will increase because Chrome needs to load the content of the webpage again.

Clearing Chrome’s Data

To clear your data in Chrome, you’ll need to access the browser’s Settings menu. There are three different ways to do this.

Related

How to Use Wise Disk Cleaner Program to Delete Bad Files
How to Delete Junk Files on a PC

The first way is to click the three vertical dots icon (the hamburger icon) in the top-right corner of the screen, hovering over the More Tools option and then selecting Clear Browsing Data. Refer to below image:

Clear Chrome 1
Clear your browing data option

In the above image, you may notice the shortcut key. To go straight to the page to clear your data, hold and press down on the Ctrl + Shift + Delete keys.

The third way is to enter chrome://settings/clearBrowserData in the address bar. See following image:

Alternate way to clear your browsing data

Now, the Clear Browsing Data window will be displayed.

The first thing you’ll do here is select the Time range for deleting the data. Click the drop down arrow next to Time range to expand the menu, then select the desired Time range; the default is All Time. It is recommended you use the default Time range. See below image:

Clear Chrome 3
Selecting your time range for clearing your data

Next, check the four boxes next to Browsing history, Download history, Cookies and 0ther site data and Cached images and files. If you want to clear passwords (not recommended), then checkmark Passwords and other sign-in data. Checking this box will force you to re-enter passwords you have setup before entering a website(s). Refer to below image:

Clear Chrome 4
Selecting your options for clearing data

Now click the Clear Data button to clear your data. See following image:

Clear Chrome 5
The last option for clearing your data

The process of clearing your data will take a litte while. If this is the first time, it may take several minutes, just be patient.

I Would Like to Hear from You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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How to Find Your Windows 10 Product Key

I recently read a post about finding your Microsoft Windows 10 product key. Microsoft likes to hide it but there are occasions you need to know the key. The key is a 25-characters code, making it virtually impossible to remember.

This is for Windows XP through 10 devices

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That post gave a long command to use and a complicated Visual Basic Script (vbs) from an unknown author to be saved as a text file to run. To make things even more complicated, using two methods, the author showed two different keys. But there is a pain free way to find the key that I posted about using Belarc Advisor. This free software program is among the best to provide a detailed inventory of your device’s hardware and software.

Here is the link for installing and running the free Belarc Advisor program.

Scroll down the report till you see the Software Licenses section. There you will find your Windows product key plus other software keys. See below image:

Belarc Advisor Software Keys

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Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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