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Category Archives: Windows

7 things every Windows 10 user should know

Windows 10 stands tall as Microsoft’s best operating system release to date, hands down. But having undergone serious revamping, the OS is ready to rock and scroll. Boasting a myriad of new features, the updated Windows 10 is both efficient and effortless — fully capable of redefining your computing experience for good. Become a Windows 10 power user in no time with these seven tips:

Master virtual desktops

Virtual desktops allow for better utilization of screen space. You can span your applications and windows across multiple “virtual” desktops. Create one by clicking on the “Task View” icon (located at the right of the Cortana bar) on the taskbar, then click “+ New Desktop” in the lower right corner and add as many desktops as you wish. To move an application to a new desktop, merely drag it into the virtual desktop on the bottom.

Next-level screenshotting

The original screenshotting methods on Windows include Windows + Prt Scn, which captures the screen and saves it into the Screenshots folder; and Alt + Prt Scn, which captures the screen and copies it to your clipboard.

Introducing the new built-in Snipping Tool. On top of capturing a full screen screenshot, other capturing options range from a free-form rectangle to a specific aspect ratio or even an entire window as well. You can also set the capture to delay a screenshot by a set interval — this comes in handy when you want to screenshot a YouTube video minus the playback controls.

Shake and minimize

For users who aren’t aware of this trick, you can grab a window by its bar and literally shake your mouse. This causes all the other windows to automatically minimize.

Professional Windows snapping

Snapping windows to certain parts of the screen is ideal for multitasking. You can now organize and monitor different applications more seamlessly. Make the most of your screen space with the following tips:

Drag a window to the right or left to split it in half.
Drag a window to a corner to reduce it to a fourth of its size.
Drag a window to the top to maximize its size.

Record your screen with the Xbox app

After launching the Xbox app, go to the app you wish to record and press Windows + G. You’ll be prompted with a window that asks: “Do you want to open the Game bar?” Click on the “Yes, this is a game” box and let the recording begin!

Talk to Cortana like a person

Aside from typing your requests, you can also use natural language to ask Cortana to locate your vacation photos, or provide directions to your friend’s house. No date needed, just specific words and she’s all set. Cortana is also synced with your calendar, so if you’re ever unsure when your meetings are, Cortana will gladly double-check.

Automatic Battery Saver mode

When activating battery saver in Windows 10, you can limit your portable devices’ background activity and push notifications to prolong battery life. Battery saver also kicks in automatically once your battery life is lower than 20%. To customize your own power threshold as well as which applications you allow to run in the background, go to Settings > System > Battery saver — voilà!

Make the most of Windows 10 with these tips and upgrade your user status from regular to power. Regardless of what you’re using it for — arranging your meetings or planning your vacation — make each computing experience a memorable one. Want to hear more of the latest Windows 10 news and updates? Contact us today.

How to fix these Windows 10 problems

Where has all my storage space gone? Why isn’t the Windows Update working? How can I play a DVD on my PC? A lot of Windows 10 users are frustrated with these problems and still, they don’t know how to fix them. Let us be your guide. Here we’ve provided the answers to the 6 most popular Windows 10 issues.

1. Decreased storage space

You might not be aware that after the upgrade to Windows 10, the old version of Windows isn’t deleted but is kept in the C:/ drive by the name of windows.old, which eats up a huge chunk of your disk space. Microsoft makes it this way just in case you change your mind and want to go back to your previous version. However, if you’re sure you want to permanently delete it, just follow these steps:

Click the Windows Start button and search for the Disk Cleanup app by typingcleanup. The drive selection box will appear, choose the drive your OS is installed on (the default drive is C:/drive), then wait for Windows to scan your system. Afterward, a box will pop up.

At this point, the system might present you with a list of files to delete, but if that’s not visible, select the Clean up system files option on the bottom left of the window. Windows will then present you with another box with the option to delete Previous Windows Installation(s). Tick the option and click OK, then click Delete Files to confirm your decision.

2. Updates that don’t work

First off, check if you’ve upgraded to the Windows 10 Fall update. If the problems still occur, download and run the Windows Update Troubleshooter, then restart the system and try to update again.

If that still doesn’t work, check that System Restore is configured (see number 3 below) and create a restore point. Type Window+X and select Command Prompt (Admin), type net stop wuauserv and hit Enter, then type net stop bits and Enter. Then open Explorer, go to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution and delete its contents including any sub-folders. Restart your PC, open Windows Update and click Check for updates.

3. System Restore isn’t enabled

In Windows 10, the System Restore isn’t enabled by default. To turn it on, go to the Start Menu and search for Create a restore point. The System Properties box will appear. From there, choose the system drive and click the Configure button, then select Turn on system protection. Use the slider to set an appropriate amount of maximum disk space (about 5GB should be enough). Note that the update to Windows 10 version 10586 turns this off again so make sure to turn it back on after you update.

4. Privacy violations

Windows 10 faces a lot of criticism over its data-sharing defaults. We recommend you review them from time to time. To change the privacy settings, go to the Start Menu and go to Settings, open the app and select Privacy. At this point, you’ll see on the left-hand side a list of data such as your computer’s camera, microphone, account information and so on. Turn off the ones that you don’t want Windows to have access to.

If you use Windows Defender, click the back arrow, select Update & Security, then select Windows Defender, see if you’re ok with the default setting that enables Cloud-based detection and Automatic sample submission.

Another privacy issue is Window Wi-Fi Sense, which is initially designed to get you connected to wireless networks more quickly. But if you’re not comfortable with the idea of sharing your network’s wireless credentials among devices you can’t control, you can go to Start > Settings > Network & Internet, then click Manage Wi-Fi settings in the right of the window, tick all of the boxes under For networks I select, share them with my to disable Wi-Fi sense.

5. Windows 10 uses up all the 4G data

Windows 10 uses your internet bandwidth in the background. Follow these steps to stop it from consuming all your cellular data without you knowing: go to Settings and then Network & Internet, select Wi-Fi and then Advanced Options, turn on Set as metered connection. Note that this tip won’t work if your PC connects to the internet via Ethernet.

6. There’s no DVD player app

Strangely, Windows 10 was launched without a DVD player app, which means you can’t watch films on your PC. However, if you upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 8 with Windows Media Center or Windows 8.1 with Windows Media Center, you’ll find a late released DVD app from Microsoft in Window Store for free download. But if you’re not one of the lucky users mentioned above, we recommend you to download VLC Media Player instead. It’s free!

We hope these 6 Windows 10 problems fixes will help smoothen your experience with Windows 10. But while there are some issues you can cover by yourself, others are more complicated and would better be handled by IT experts. Why not call us today? Our staff is here to eliminate your Windows 10 headaches.

Windows gets desktop Android notifications

Smartphones aren’t even ten years old, and they’re already one of the most essential pieces of our daily routines.In many ways they’ve actually surpassed desktop computers in their ability to keep us connected 24 hours a day. But they’re still a separate device, and that means awkward transitions when you get notifications while working on your PC. Those annoying interruptions were the impetus for Microsoft to introduce a new method for syncing Android notifications to your Windows 10 machine. Sound interesting? Here is how to make it happen.

The first thing you need to do is to wirelessly pair your Android phone with your Microsoft desktop. From the Google Play store, download and install the Cortana app and sign into the Microsoft account you use on your computer. Once you’ve signed in, select the Menu button in the upper-left-hand corner and select Settings. After that, select the option for ‘sync notifications’ and toggle which you would like to see on your desktop.

Notifications are broken down into four categories: calls, texts, battery alerts, and third-party apps. Although an option to answer the phone from your computer hasn’t been added yet, you can read and respond to text messages. When deciding on third-party app settings, remember the goal is to manage your interactions, not create more. Make sure to disable any notifications that will create annoying redundancies like doubled-up Facebook alerts between your Android pairing and previously-enabled desktop notifications.

And just like that, you’re all set. As long as you have Cortana enabled on your desktop, all your Android alerts will automatically display in your Windows 10 Action Center. There is no need to interact with the app on your mobile device, and we recommend removing the shortcuts from the clutter of your homescreen. Gone are the days of needlessly checking your phone every time it vibrates, just to find out it’s another telemarketer or unimportant Instagram notification.

As technology reaches the hands of more and more people, and hardware and software options increase exponentially, there are few problems that can’t be fixed with a little ingenuity. Our staff has that ingenuity, and they’re waiting to impart it on you and your business. Call us from your phone or text us from your desktop. Regardless of how you reach us, don’t wait for more problems to sneak up on you.

Will more apps save the Windows phone?

Windows has increasingly been left forgotten in the smartphone game. This is especially due to the huge success of iOS and Android devices. But just when you think that these smartphones will just fizzle out, Microsoft has quickly announced plans to revitalize their mobile operating systems. So what steps will Microsoft be taking to stay in the game? Here is a review of the solutions for the Windows 10 Mobile that Microsoft is planning to take.

The problem

Since its release, Windows 10 Mobile has not been getting as much traction as Microsoft had hoped. One of the biggest factors to this is due to Windows 10 Mobile struggling to get popular apps like Instagram or Snapchat onto their platform. This would mean that customers would have to settle for third-party services that were usually quite obscure, and had a higher chance of shutting down since developers cannot maintain the app running for long without proper funding.

Furthermore, because of such a small market for Windows 10 phones, fewer apps were being developed. No app creator was going to spend time making an app for a platform that is constantly overshadowed by iOS or Android devices. The only thing the Windows 10 Mobile had going for it was its lower price point, but with barely any apps to make the entire device worthwhile, customers were going elsewhere for more popular alternatives.

The solutions

So, clearly, Microsoft needed to reevaluate their strategy to get people’s heads turning back to their devices. In pursuit of a larger user base for their phones, here are some of the features that Microsoft are planning to deploy:

  • Cross compatibility apps: In order to get on the same playing field, Microsoft has been trying to make apps that were only available on iOS and Android compatible with Windows devices.
  • Universal Windows Platform: Microsoft’s best solution for a lack of apps on the Windows 10 Mobile is to allow apps to run in several platforms. This means apps that were initially developed for PC, Xbox and Internet of Things (IoT) powered devices can also run on your phone. Instead of getting limited services from one device, you have access to all the apps available for any Windows 10 product.

Will this work?

We’re still uncertain if these strategies will make you want to run out to the nearest store and pick up the newest  model, but it seems promising. Companies like Apple and Google have not been successful in unifying their apps for different devices. However, Microsoft’s large PC customer base and available apps can hopefully change that. It also gives Windows phones a unique selling point, other than their competitive pricing, which is sure to attract some customers.

These days, users are working with more than one device at any given time and as we begin to lose track of all the apps installed on our devices, a unified app platform can be just what we need for the future. So do you think you’ll be picking up a Windows phone anytime soon?

The end of Microsoft Smartphones – Windows phone is calling it quits

The time is near – it is almost the end of Microsoft Smartphones

Microsoft smartphones have been on their last legs for months, if not years. Though builds and new features held promise in revitalizing the device, Microsoft announced the removal of their phones from the consumer market. While Microsoft maintains its stance on “fully committing” to Windows Phones, the fact that they are selling off their handset business, shows otherwise. Here is the rundown on the downfall and the end of Microsoft Smartphones…

A brief history

The Windows Phone was introduced in 2010 and quite late in entering the smartphone game. After acquiring Nokia – a company facing severe losses – for $7.6 billion, Microsoft introduced Lumia handsets in the market. Since then however, Lumia handset sales fell by 49%. Additionally, over 10,000 employees were laid off and the failed smartphone venture would then be sold to Foxconn, a multinational company in Taiwan, for $350 million.

Reasons for the failure of the Windows phone

There were many reasons why the Microsoft smartphone was not successful in the consumer market. Perhaps the biggest reason was because Microsoft entered the smartphone market too late, especially when Apple and Android devices were already starting to dominate the market. While the Windows Phone was a perfectly fine device, it lacked the “wow” factor that brands like Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android captured.

Apple and Android already had a wide variety of apps and features available for users by the time Microsoft joined in. So it didn’t help that Microsoft, at the time, had limited access to popular social media apps and advanced hardware features, which is why consumers kept lining up for the latest iPhone. Furthermore, Microsoft’s phone success had only been limited by its low price point and commitment to security, which might be good for business but not for consumer use.

Additionally, the success of Apple and Google was a result of being laser focused on the mobile market, while Microsoft simply had priorities other than their smartphone venture. Overall, phones are just a very small part in Microsoft’s strategy. They are more focused in areas like developing their cloud productivity suite, the Surface Pro tablet, and getting more consumers and organizations to use Windows 10 as their operating system of choice. On the other hand, Android’s operating system was far more advanced and Apple’s constant development of their hardware made it almost impossible for Microsoft to infiltrate the smartphone market. Therefore from the beginning, Microsoft was already fighting an uphill battle.

What now?

Though Microsoft has experienced a heavy blow in their smartphone development, this doesn’t mean they are down for the count. They decided to remove their products from the consumer market and focus on enterprise only markets as their product appeals to value-oriented buyers. As for the significant losses, Microsoft is not likely to go broke any time soon. But it may very well be the end of Microsoft Smartphones…

There are also rumors going around that the success of the Surface Pro tablet might bring about a Surface Phone. And even if there won’t be one, Microsoft’s tablets performance are on par, if not better, than the iPad Pro, so the company still has chances to enter the mobility devices market. At the end of the day, the failure of Microsoft’s smartphone gives the tech company more time to focus on areas like HoloLens, Internet of Things (IoT), gaming, the cloud, and the further development of their operating system.

Do you think Microsoft will survive their smartphone blunders? Or is this the end of Microsoft Smartphones…

Avoid the Windows10 upgrade

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Repetition is a proven way to incite people into action. Children use it to break down their parents’ psyche and get them to buy the latest toy, and advertisers use it to sell their product. Now, Microsoft is using the same tactic to try and get you to upgrade to Windows 10. But this time, you don’t have to stand for it. You can silence their annoying popups up for now, and here’s how you can do it.

If you’re like many people who are happy with their current Microsoft operating system, you may have no desire to upgrade to Windows 10. And while Microsoft seems to be doing everything they can to force your hand, like no longer offering security updates for Windows 8, upgrading is still avoidable for now. So if you’d like to get rid of the annoying prompts that are likely pestering you on a regular basis, it is possible to do so. And believe it or not, Microsoft themselves have released instructions on how to do this and they can be found their website.

How to block Windows 10 prompts

To block Windows 10 popups, you will need to dig into your PC’s registry and disable the upgrade path. However, a word of warning before you start: editing your registry incorrectly can cause serious problems to your PC. Before you make any modifications, back up your computer and registry in case anything goes wrong. In other words, at this point you’re proceeding at your own risk.

If you are a Windows 7 Pro, Ultimate or Windows 8.1 Pro user and have admin permissions on the computer, follow these steps.

  1. Open up group policy editor (gpedit.msc)
  2. Browse to Computer Configuration>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Windows Update Policy
  3. Switch on the Turn off the upgrade to the latest version of Windows through Windows Update setting

For users who are on a non-Enterprise version of Windows 7 or 8.1, you will need to input the below registry key in manually:

Subkey: HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Gwx
DWORD value: DisableGwx = 1

And that’s all there is to it. Now you will no longer be bothered with popups bugging you to upgrade to Windows 10.

That being said, if you are currently running Windows 8 you need to make sure that you’ve upgraded to the latest “8.1 Update” version of the software so that you can enjoy continued ‘Mainstream Support’ (including new features) until 9 January 2018 and ‘Extended Support’ (security patches) until 10 January 2023. If you’re running the original Windows 8.0 you will no longer have support and your systems could be at risk.

If you would like additional assistance in blocking Windows notifications or help with other IT related needs, we are happy to be of service. Get in touch with us today.

CELEBRATE WINDOWS 95 WITH THESE DELIGHTFULLY TERRIBLE RETRO VIDEOS

MICROSOFT’S CLASSIC OPERATING SYSTEM TURNS 20 TODAY. TO CELEBRATE, A NOSTALGIC TRIP BACK TO THE ’90S VIA SOME DEEPLY WEIRD VIDEOS.

It might be news to many of today’s selfie-snapping, hashtag-happy millennials, but Windows 95 was a huge deal. I’ll never forget the day my dad came home from CompUSA with that blue, cloud-covered box and we cracked open the CD-ROM for the first time. The installation felt like it took took all night, but once the disc drive stopped whirring, we were in. This totally new interface—it introduced radical new concepts like the Windows “Start” menu and the taskbar—would be our gateway to so many new and wonderful computer things. It even came with a full-length AVI file of Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” music video, for some reason.

It’s hard to believe that Windows 95 shipped exactly 20 years ago today. And while few of us have machines that still run that wildly popular, PC boom-fueling operating system, we can still celebrate it birthday via YouTube. And as it turns out, there is no shortage of incredibly awkward videos out there to help us keep the memories alive.

Here are some of the best/worst Windows 95 videos in existence.

WINDOWS 95 COMMERCIAL (OR TIM AND ERIC SKETCH)?

This extended, nearly 9-minute TV commercial for Windows 95 is totally insane. If it wasn’t so obviously made in 1995, you wouldn’t have a hard time convincing anyone it was actually a Tim and Eric sketch. In between over-the-top sight gags and dad jokes from commercial’s main star, we get exciting action shots of Microsoft Excel generating charts, and pixelated video games that were probably pretty neat at the time. The video also shows off notable features like a program that lets you look at maps on your computer and the ability to insert WordArt into your documents.

GRETA’S SEXY SOFTWARE TUTORIAL

The mid-’90s PC boom had a big impact on the way people work. And while these new machines may have been exciting for curious kids and geeky enthusiasts, not every middle-aged office worker was thrilled about the prospect of learning a completely new way to get things done, especially before computing interfaces were as intuitive as they are today. But if you were a lonely dad in 1995 with a sudden need to learn Excel and Internet Explorer, you were in luck: Somebody made this amazingly awkward tutorial starring Greta, a bikini-clad ’90s babe. Greta walks the viewer through the features of Windows 95 and its key software, all while dropping vaguely sexual innuendos to keep the lessons, as she puts it, “as pleasurable as possible.” Before there were YouTubers, there was Greta.

WINDOWS 95 LAUNCH EVENT, FEATURING JAY LENO’S BAD JOKES

With Windows 95, Microsoft introduced a feature that endures to this very day: The Start menu. To market this new innovation in desktop computing interface design, the company did not waste the obvious opportunity to license the song “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones, which appeared in early TV commercials for Windows 95. The song also plays throughout this promotional launch video, which features Bill Gates extolling the promise of new communication paradigms like “electronic mail” and runs through some exciting screen-by-screen B-roll footage of Windows 95 in action. The highlight of this video, however, is an onstage appearance by Jay Leno, who uses his classic, painfully unfunny comedic stylings to crack jokes about the computer mouse and quip that Gates is “so successful that Ross Perot is his chauffeur.” From start to finish, the whole thing is delightfully ’90s, and replete with pleated khakis.

 Article by John Titlow from http://www.fastcompany.com/3050308/the-recommender/celebrate-windows-95-with-these-delightfully-terrible-retro-videos

 

 

And don’t forget this piece of comedy gold –
Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry Teach Us Windows 95

Microsoft Office is going mobile

Tablets with Windows 10 installed received a boost recently with the unveiling of the new Office Mobile applications. The mobile versions of the iconic Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications are specifically designed for use on tablets. The “touch-first” interface allows users to easily edit documents while on the go. The best news of all is the fact that Office Mobile apps are free for users of Windows 10.

One of the biggest complaints about trying to edit a Microsoft Office file from a tablet is usability, or lack thereof. That has all changed, at least for Windows 10 users, with Microsoft’s recent release of Office Mobile apps. The tablet-friendly versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote have been built from the ground up to improve touch functionality.

Even if you don’t have Windows 10, you still might be intrigued about the potential of having Office apps that are touch-friendly. Here are some of the new features you can enjoy when using Office Mobile apps.

Word

Microsoft Word Mobile has all the tools and features of the PC version including more nuanced tasks like being able to track changes and add footnotes. The Read mode, a mobile exclusive, improves the way documents appear by making them flow better on the smaller screens of a tablet while also letting you zoom in and out with a simple tap of the screen.

Excel

Recommended Charts is the prominent feature of the Excel Mobile app. It allows you to quickly show off your data using a stylish chart or graph with only a few taps. You will also find that reordering columns, adding formulae, changing chart types and the majority of Excel’s other core functions are easier than ever before.

PowerPoint

Of course Office wouldn’t be Office without PowerPoint. The mobile version of the app allows you to edit slides with new touch gestures. This makes it easy to insert and edit pictures, tables, shapes and SmartArt. But the real star here, and of the entire Office Mobile setup, is the Presenter View. This mode gives you full control over what your audience sees on the big screen during a presentation while still letting you view your speaker notes on the tablet.

OneNote

Windows 10 comes installed with OneNote, so you’re probably already using it. Tablet users will notice that changes made by anyone working in the notebook are automatically saved and synchronized for everyone to see.

The release of Office Mobile apps is just one of three big launches to come from Microsoft in 2015. Both Microsoft Office 2016 and Office Mobile for phones are slated for release this fall. Yet, while these tablet applications represent marked improvements for Windows 10 tablet users, they are probably not quite enough to warrant the switch from other operating systems just yet. In fact, even if you’re in love with the idea of having user-friendly, mobile versions of Office, you might want to hang on in there – it’s likely Microsoft will release them for iOS and Android in the near future, too.

Want to know what hardware and software is best for your company? Want to increase productivity in your office? Get in touch with us and we’ll show you how to do it.

This entry was posted in General Articles A, Microsoft Office – News & Tips and tagged Excel, Microsoft, Mobile apps, Office, Powerpoint, Productivity, Tablet, Windows 10, Word. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

Updates in Windows build 10149

While there have been rumours circling online about Microsoft’s plan to kill the Windows Phone altogether, the tech giant’s latest release for the Windows Insider Program – where users can sign up for an early build of the Windows OS – proves otherwise. Here we’ll take a look at the new Windows build 10149 OS, a preview to Windows 10, and see if it’s worth installing or if you’re better off waiting.

Microsoft Edge

The first thing you’ll notice in this build is a brand new browser, Microsoft Edge. Microsoft Edge is set to replace Internet Explorer as the default web browser on Windows 10 PCs, smartphones and tablets. It is integrated with Cortana and OneDrive, and also includes annotation tools, reading mode, and the option to browse websites in either mobile or desktop view. Do note that Microsoft Edge has a new app ID, meaning favorites, cookies, history and reading-list items that you saved in the Project Spartan app will be lost after upgrading.

General UX improvements

Among the many refinements in this build is the clear and crisp Start screen. Visuals and icons such as volume controls are updated and are more responsive to use, and the navigation bar can now be hidden. Microsoft has also fixed issues like text notifications not appearing for incoming messages, as well as apps that couldn’t be installed or updated.

Cortana refinements

The Windows build 10149 sees Cortana’s Notebook in its final stage, with combined Profile and Settings experience. You can now send an email by saying everything at once – such as who you want to email (you can give the names of multiple recipients), the subject of the email, and what you want your message to say. And with an Internet connection, you can also make corrections with your voice – though this only works for US English right now.

Flash to flashlight

One of the most popular requests of Microsoft from its users was to add a Flashlight “quick action” to allow you to turn your phone’s camera flash into a flashlight, and that’s exactly what they’ve added. To enable this feature, simply open Action Center and expand Quick Actions.

Improved Photos app

The update to the Photos app includes new capabilities such as support for animated GIFs (which works with phones with at least 16GB of RAM). Links to your saved photos, screenshots, and camera roll are also available on the Albums page.

Overall, the Windows build 10149 looks to be an important turning point for Windows 10 Mobile. It is faster and more stable, and comes with plenty of improvements that enhance practicality for everyday use. To try it out, make sure you’re part of the Windows Insider Program by signing up here. Looking to learn more about the benefits of Windows Phone? Contact us today; we’re sure we can help.

This entry was posted in General Articles C, Mobile Phone – Windows Phone and tagged windows 10 os, Windows build 10149, windows insider os,windows insider program, windows phone. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.