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How to Add Trailers to Your Plex Movies for a True Movie Theater Experience

If you’re a fan of movie trailers, pre-rolls, and the build up of anticipation leading up to the cinematic experience, then we’ve got a treat for you: Plex Media Server makes it dead simple to recreate that theater magic right at home with both trailers from your own movie collection as well as those of upcoming releases.

You may already be aware that Plex supports trailers, but not many people know that you can leverage trailers into something much cooler than something you manually load up now and then. Tucked away in the settings of your Plex Media Server is a neat little bonus feature that can add a little cinema magic and authenticity to your movie night experience. With a little bit of prep work and a few small changes, Plex can do the following things:

  • Play trailers for movies from your personal movie collection (including trailers for all movies or just your unwatched films).
  • Play trailers for new and upcoming theater releases (Plex Pass premium users only).
  • Play trailers for new and upcoming Blu-ray releases (Plex Pass premium users only).
  • Play a custom video pre-roll (a video clip that will play right before the feature film starts—like the THX loto or an old-timey “Welcome to the movies!” clip).

By taking advantage of these features, you can get a gentle nudge to check out great movies already in your collection, or see what’s new in theaters and about to come out on Blu-ray. Plus it’ll feel like you’re actually at the movies.

How to Download Your Trailers and Pre-Roll

Of the four potential features we outlined above, there are only two that require you to do any prep work: trailers from your own movie collection and custom movie pre-rolls. Trailers for upcoming theater and Blu-ray releases are downloaded automatically for Plex Pass subscribers and, if that’s all your interested in, you can skip this entire section and jump down to “Enable Trailers, Previews, and Pre-Rolls”.

Here are the three ways you can add trailers to your movie collection (with their respective benefits and shortcomings):

  • Manually: Labor intensive, but you get the exact files you want and they are stored locally with the movie file in your media directory.
  • Third Party Media Managers: Automated, and stores trailers with movies. Requires additional software and setup.
  • Third Party Plugins: Automated, but stores trailers hidden away in the Plex database, not in your media directory.

If you’re a media purist who wants control over which trailers you have and where they are stored, you’re stuck with the extra work of the first two options. If you just want trailers and couldn’t care less where they’re stored, pick option three and let the plugin do the heavy lifting for you.

Adding Movie Trailers Manually

To manually set a trailer for a movie you simply need to download that trailer video from some source and then placing it in the folder where the movie is located, with the filename set to descriptivename-trailer.ext, where “descriptivename” is the a clear description of what the file is and .ext is simply whatever the existing extension of the movie is.

Let’s say we wanted to manually add a trailer to the 2012 cinematic masterpiece, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. We have the trailer in MP4 format, so we simply browse to the location of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in our collection, paste the downloaded trailer into the directory, and rename it to match the file name of the movie file, like so:

Simply repeat this process for as many movie trailers as you wish to add to your collection.

Adding Movie Trailers with a Media Manager

Manually adding a movie trailer here or there is one thing, but if you want to add trailers to hundreds of movies, that’ll get old really fast. If you want the trailers stored with your movie files but you don’t want to manually download and rename them all, you need to use third party tools like Ember Media Manager or Media Companion.

For our purposes today, we’ll be using Media Companion. The interface is cluttered to the point of being almost overwhelming, but if you know which switches to flip, it makes short work of downloading trailers for even a Library of Congress size collection.

Once you’ve downloaded and installed Media Companion, launch the application. First, make sure “Movies” is selected in the control bar (it should be selected by default) and then click on the “Folders” tab in the GUI, located towards the right hand side of the tab list, as seen below:

Next, look at the bottom of the Folders tab for the entry “Manually Add path to Movie Root Folder”. Put the full directory path to your movie collection here (e.g. C:\Media\Movies\, \\homeserver\movies\, or wherever your movies are located). Click “Add”.

Once you’ve added the directory, Media Companion will scan the folder and populate the file browser. Go to the file browser now by selecting the first tab “Main Browser”. You’ll see a list of movies on the left-hand side. Let’s download the trailer for a single movie now to demonstrate the process. Select a movie and right click on it.

In the right-click context menu, you have two tasks. First, head…

How to Use Different Wallpapers on Multiple Monitors in Windows 7

So you’ve just unpacked that spiffy new monitor, and it sits fresh and new on your desk putting your other little displays to shame. Now you have to give it some sartorial splendor: a kick-ass wallpaper from the online repository of your choice. But now comes the conundrum—what if you want to use different images on different screens?

Unfortunately, Windows 7’s default wallpaper handler is pretty primitive for multiple displays. (Windows 8 and 10 are much better, so check out these instructions if you’re using a later version of Windows.) In Windows 7, you have two options for using different wallpapers: you can create your own combined image, using your favorite image editor, or you can use a third-party tool like DisplayFusion or UltraMon.

First, we’ll look at the manual way to make your own multi-monitor wallpaper. If you want something a bit more automated (that requires extra software), or you want to rotate through many wallpapers on your two monitors, skip to the end, where we’ll discuss third-party options.

The Manual Method: Grab an Image Editor

In order to show a different wallpaper on each monitor, you need to trick Windows and merge your two wallpapers into one big image file. To do this, you’ll need some kind of image editor. Paint, Microsoft’s pack-in tool for Windows, isn’t really complex enough to handle the task; you’ll want something like GIMP, Paint.NET, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or Corel Paintshop Pro.

Step One: Arrange Your Monitors

Windows treats all the monitors on your desktop as one combined space, at least in terms of the wallpaper. You can adjust the position and spacing of the monitors’ virtual location on the Display Settings screen.

To do this, right-click an empty area on your desktop and click “Screen resolution.” You’ll be greeted with something like the following screen.

Here, you can see the relative position of the monitors in the virtual space of the desktop. My setup uses two monitors, with one being slightly higher resolution than the other. You can move the monitors around to make them match your desk’s setup. The wallpaper will “stop” at any edges that extend past the usable space. For example, here’s how it looks with the secondary monitor on the lower-right side:

And here’s the same setup with the secondary monitor on the upper-left side:

Note how the “empty” space appears wherever the larger monitor extends past the smaller one. This space isn’t accessible in Windows itself—you can’t move your mouse cursor or applications there—but it’s important to think about it for the purpose of managing the wallpaper.

Set up your monitors however you’d like on this screen, then click “Apply.” It’s possible to arrange them in vertical rows or horizontal columns, anchored at the corners or “floating” on the sides for more precision. For the purposes on this guide, just stick to the corners as above; it’ll be simpler.

Step Two: Find Some Images

You can choose…

How to Move the “Show Desktop” Icon to the Quick Launch Bar or the Taskbar in Windows

If you aren’t a fan of scrolling your pointer over to the lower right corner of your monitor to show the desktop, we have a cool tweak that will allow you to add the Show Desktop icon to the Quick Launch bar or anywhere on your Taskbar.

If you want to easily get access to the Desktop in Windows 7, 8, or 10, you’ve undoubtedly noticed they moved the Show Desktop to the lower right corner of the screen. This can be annoying if you have a dual monitors, or even a large monitor.

There are a couple of ways you can make the Show Desktop icon more accessible. We’ll take a look at each and you can choose which method works best for you. We show both methods in Windows 10, but they will also work in Windows 7 and 8.

How to Put the Show Desktop Icon Back to Where it Used to Be by Adding Back the Quick Launch Bar

The first method of moving the Show Desktop icon is to add back the Quick Launch bar to the Taskbar. The Quick Launch bar contains a Show Desktop option, so once you follow the steps in our article to bring back the Quick Launch bar, you should see the Show Desktop icon on the left side of the Taskbar. If you don’t, the article also describes how to move icons on the Quick Launch bar.

This method will “kill two birds with one stone” by getting the Quick Launch bar and the Show Desktop icon back where they used to be in Windows.

How to Pin the Show Desktop Icon to the Taskbar

If you don’t want the Quick Launch bar back, you could pin the icon to the Taskbar instead. Unfortunately, the process isn’t as easy as a simple drag and drop, but there is an easy workaround.

Right-click on any empty area of the desktop and go to New > Text Document.

Rename the shortcut to Show Desktop.exe.

NOTE: You will need to have file extensions showing in order for this to work.

The following warning…

How to Use Handwriting Input on Windows 10

Windows 10’s handwriting keyboard allows you to enter text into any application with a pen or other stylus. It even works on old desktop applications.

This feature is separate from the Windows Ink Workspace, which directs you to applications with special support for pen input. The handwriting keyboard allows you to use a stylus in any application.

Finding the Handwriting Keyboard

This feature is built into Windows 10’s touch keyboard. To open it, tap the touch keyboard icon next to the clock on your taskbar.

If you don’t see the keyboard icon on your taskbar, right-click or long-press on your taskbar and enable the “Show touch keyboard button” option in the context menu.

Tap the keyboard button at the bottom right corner of the touch keyboard.

Tap the handwriting keyboard icon, which looks like a pen over an empty panel.

The handwriting input keyboard appears. By default, it spans the entire width of your display. To shrink it, tap the “Undock” button to the left of the “x” on the top right corner of the panel.

Touch the title bar of the panel with your stylus or finger to drag it around your screen and position it wherever you want it.

Once you switch to the handwriting input panel, it will automatically appear whenever you tap or click the keyboard icon on your taskbar. You’ll need to tap the keyboard button at the bottom of the touch input keyboard to select the default touch keyboard if you want to use it.

Writing With the Handwriting Keyboard

You can input text in any application with a text input field. For example, we’ll be using Notepad…

How to Pin an External Drive to the Windows Taskbar

Do you have an external drive connected to your Windows computer and would like to access it from the Taskbar? Here we show you a workaround that will allow you to pin it to Taskbar.

We’ll show you how to add an external drive icon to the Taskbar in Windows 10, but this trick will also work in Windows 7 and 8.

You would think the process would be as easy as dragging the external drive icon to the Taskbar. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. If you try to drag the external drive icon to the Taskbar, it just adds it to File Explorer.

Then, if you right-click on the File Explorer icon, you’ll be able to access it from there. This might be enough for some users, but we want to add it to the Taskbar as an icon.

With a quick workaround, we can add the drive as an icon to the Taskbar. However, before doing this, we need to assign a persistent drive letter to our external drive. We’re going to add a drive letter to the external drive’s icon on the Taskbar, so that drive letter needs to stay the same every time you connect the drive to your PC.

Once you’ve assigned the drive letter to your external drive, right-click on an empty area on your desktop and go to New > Text Document.

Then, name the text file whatever you want and change the .txt extension to .exe . In our example, we’re adding the external N:\ drive, so we named it Drive N.exe . Press Enter.

After pressing Enter, you will see a dialog box asking if you’re sure you…