Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Window 10: File Explorers New ‘Quick Access’ Menu

Quick Access folders

The File Explorer has a new feature called ‘Quick Access’ list. This feature allows the user to pin their favorite folders to the top of the list for quick, one-click access.

Recently used folders show up below the pinned items in the list, which can be handy when the user is working with a group of files.

To add a folder to this list, right-click it and select Pin to Quick Access. To remove a folder from the list, right-click the folder and select Unpin to Quick Access.

Frequent folders section

When the user first opens the File Explorer, any items in the Quick Access list also show up in the Frequent folders section. Recently used folders show up automatically in this section.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Software: Microsoft Snip

Microsoft has just released a new and very handy screen capture application, it's called Microsoft Snip. The app allows you to capture any window or area of your screen.

You can then annotate it with narrated comments or draw on it with digital ink. You can then copy and paste it into another application, or share it with your friends and colleagues by sending a URL to it, or save it as an MP4 video.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Windows 10: Use the Cortana search to perform quick calculations

One of Cortana's many features is that you can use it to perform quick calculations, such as:

  • How many ounces are in a pound?
  • What’s the square root of 578?
  • 1 USD to CAD (or 1 US Dollar to Canadian Dollar) [most currencies are supported]
Note: These searches will also work in Google and Google Now

Monday, October 12, 2015

Windows 10: How to Get Help (How-To Video)

In this Windows 10 how-to video, it explains how to get help from the operating system using the search box and Cortana.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Windows 10: Windows Hello (How-To Video)

This how-to video explains the Windows Hello feature, which offers a fast, secure, and password-free way to log in to Windows 10.

Note: the hardware on your computer needs to be supported by this technology in order for it work.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Windows 10: Xbox on Windows (How-To Video)

In this video you'll learn about Windows 10 and its Xbox integration with the console and the Xbox Live community.

Some of the tips that are covered are:
  • Stream your Xbox games to your PC
  • How to record those great gaming moments.
  • And more.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Windows 10: 5 Tips for Productivity (How-To Video)

This Windows 10 how-to video shows quick productivity tip for:
  • Start Menu
  • Action Center
  • Windows Store
  • Search in the taskbar
  • Cortana

Saturday, September 26, 2015

New Book: Power User Guide: Windows 10 Secrets (2015 Edition)

I wanted to post some information about my new Windows 10 book that is now available for purchase. Below is all the details and links to the new book.

This is the forth book that I have published. If you buy it and enjoy it, please post a review to let me and others know. I love hearing feedback from my readers.

  • Title: Power User Guide: Windows 10 Secrets (2015 Edition)
  • Author: Jason Savitt
  • Description: This book helps all levels of users (from novice to IT Professional) to take full advantage of the operating system. Some of the topics covered in the book: Understanding the different installation and upgrade options. Leveraging the power and features of the new OS and applications and services. Hundreds of power user notes, tips and tricks to fully utilize the features of the OS. Learn the background, history and future of the Windows product line, and what this will mean to you. Discover undocumented and little known features that can grant the user access to functionality that is only known to experts. Understand the new privacy concerns that comes with using all the new applications and services.
  • Free preview
  • Buy a copy

Monday, September 21, 2015

Windows 10: Windows Store (How-To Video)

The Windows Store is Microsoft's one-stop shop for all things Windows apps and media. The store offers free and paid apps, games, movies, TV shows, and the latest music.

This feature first appeared in Windows 8, and has been enhanced and upgraded in Windows 10. The biggest enhancement is the cleaner user interface design, it’s much easier to find things.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Windows 10: Microsoft Edge (How-To Video)

The Microsoft Edge browser, is the company's replacement for Internet Explorer. The Edge browser gets rid of a lot of legacy technologies that IE was hindered with. Microsoft had to make a logical separation between the two apps to abandon the bloat of the old browser.

One of the new features of the new Edge browser is the ability to mark up a webpage and share it with someone. Another cool feature is the Reading View strips away the clutter, then allows the user to place articles in the Reading List app for later review.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Windows 10: Windows and OneDrive (How-To Video)

Microsoft OneDrive is a built-in cloud storage service in Windows 10. This is a great feature if you want to store your files in the cloud so they’re accessible from a mobile device or another computer. This feature was also built-in to Windows 8. That version allowed you to keep most of your files in the cloud, but it could do more than the Windows 10 version.

The Windows 8 version also allowed you to select which ones you wanted to keep locally and everything else stayed in the cloud until you needed it. For some reason they removed this feature from Windows 10.

In a future article I’ll discuss how to work around this issue for devices that don’t have a great deal of storage

Monday, September 14, 2015

Windows 10: Start Menu Tips and Tricks (How-To Video)

Windows 10 has a new Start menu. If you used Windows 8 before all the concepts are similar just a little different, but you might learn something you didn't know. If you're a Windows 7 user most of the concepts are new.

This video shows you how to get the most out of the new Start menu. It shows how to resize and rearrange tiles, pin apps, and more.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Windows 10: Hey, Cortana (How-To Video)

One of the new features built-in to Windows 10 is called Cortana.  This is Microsoft's digital personal assistant technology, similar to Apple's Siri or Google’s Google Now.  You can ask Cortana any question using natural language and it will do its best to answer the question for you.

The more Cortana learns about you and your habits the more useful it will become. For example, it can alert you to upcoming events, give you flight information, give you information about packages shipped to you, etc.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Tip: Preventing Windows 10 from Using Your Bandwidth to Distribute Itself

When Microsoft releases a new version of Windows it can sometime take days or weeks before the users can receive the ability to get the update. This is because the company's servers are getting slammed from other people downloading it. This happened with the release of the Windows 8 and 8.1 OS because the popularity of the download, even though the OS was not that liked.

In the not too distant pass things were a great deal worse. For example, in the very, very early days of Microsoft they literally shipped it software on paper tape, which later was move to cassette tapes and then floppies. I remember installing a version of office that literally required 25 floppies and had 5 to 6 huge manuals. They eventually moved the distribution of their software to CDs then DVDs, these disk also started including digital versions of the manuals.

Windows Vista was the first version of the OS to utilize ESD (Electronic Software Distribution). I remember with Windows 8 they offered a $40 upgrade for the electronic version of it. It took forever to download, but it was cheaper than paying the full cost of the software. Then with the release of Windows 8.1 also being a free update to that took forever to download as well.

Stealing Ideas from Pirates
Microsoft has become an expert at understanding the piracy of its products. One of the main methods that pirates use to distribute its software over the Internet is a technology called ‘bit torrent’ (aka peer-to-peer networking). This software works by utilizing the distributed bandwidth of the people sharing the files to make it available to others. To assist with the distribution of Windows 10, the company is utilizing a technology that works similarly to bit torrent for the distribution of the OS and its updates. It utilizes the customer's extra bandwidth to share copies of Windows with others on the Internet so they can download the software faster.

Now this is great for people who live in an area where they might have unlimited bandwidth from their ISPs, or those who have ISPs that don't have restrictive data caps. Although recently ISPs seem to be charging more, and imposing more restrictive data caps on the connections. This is especially true with wireless Internet providers. This feature could be using up the user’s data cap limits without them knowing about it. To turn off this feature follow the steps below:

• Press WinKey + I and then click Update & security option. It’s also possible to search for 'Check for updates' utilizing the Cortana search bar next to the Start menu.
• Click on the 'Windows Update' option, and then choose 'Advanced options.'
• Under 'Choose how updates are installed' click 'Choose how updates are delivered.'
• Turn OFF the toggle switch under ‘Updates from more than one place.'

By disabling this feature, it will prevent the user’s computer from being used as a node in Microsoft’s peer-to-peer network for the distribution of Windows and its updates. Although, by disabling this option it also will prevent the user from receiving faster updates from this service. Which means they will have to rely on Microsoft slower servers for future upgrades. It’s worth noting that its possible to re-enable this feature at any time when future upgrades become available.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Windows 10: Uninstall the Download Notifier from Windows 7 and 8.1

In a previous article, I talked about the Windows 10 Download Notifier for Windows 7 and 8.1.  This application runs in the notification area in the taskbar, and performs two main tasks:
  • Allows you to reserve a copy of Windows 10.
  • Checks your system for Windows 10 compatibility.
Here is some more information about it from Windows Update:
Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems (KB3035583)
Installation date: 5/24/2015 7:52 AM
Update type: Recommended
Description: Install this update to resolve issues in Windows. For a complete listing of the issues that are included in this update, see the associated Microsoft Knowledge Base article for more information. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.
More information:

If you want to uninstall this update, follow the instructions below:

Uninstalling Windows Update KB3035583.
  •   From the Start menu or screen, in the search box type "Programs and Features" and select the control panel.
  •   Find the update that you want to remove, and then click Uninstall.
To hide the update from future downloads in Windows Update.
  •   From the Start menu or screen, in the search box type "wuapp.exe" and press the Enter key.
  •   Press the "Check for update" link
  •   Find update KB3035583, right-click it and select 'Hide update'

Monday, June 08, 2015

Windows 10: Performing a Clean Install of the OS after an Upgrade

If you take advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.1. This offer will be available after July 29, 2015, and will only be good for one year after that date. 

Microsoft has recently announced that you will be able to perform a ‘clean install’ of the new OS after you upgrade on the same device at any time. This is good news for people who have a system that has a lot of clutter (i.e. unnecessary programs) or is infected with malware and they want a fresh copy of the OS.

For those not familiar with the concept of performing a 'clean install' of the operating system. This process involves formatting the storage device on the computer and installing a fresh copy of the OS. This helps to eliminate issues that can surface during this process. It's also an easy way to configure everything the way you like it.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Windows 10: Are you ready...

It seems like most people tried to bypass Windows 8 because the user interface was too dramatically different. Personally, I was a fan of the new interface, but I think I was in the minority.

One of the biggest complaints about Windows 8 was the missing Start menu on the desktop. Microsoft replaced it with a full-screen application menu. This new user interfaced worked really well for tablets.

Microsoft gave in, and brought back the Start menu in Windows 10.  Yes, they did skip Windows 9 for several different reasons (I am not going to discuss them in this article), and lots of rumors (for example '9' sounds like 'no' in German).

Windows 10 is a mash-up of Windows 7 + 8, with several new features and other enhancements.  Some of the new features include Cortana (an AI assistant), the new Microsoft Edge browser (which replaces the Internet Explorer), and a great deal more.

Microsoft is offering free upgrades to the new OS to current users (refer to the Microsoft site for the terms and conditions), and new users who are not qualified will have to buy a license.  The upgrade is supposed to be available July 29, 2015.

To check if you can upgrade, check the notification area in the lower right hand corner.  You will see a white Windows flag (see the graphic below)

Once you click on it, it will display the following window.
From here you can reserve your copy of Windows 10, and you can check for known incompatibilities. To check for incompatibilities, press the 'hamburger' menu in the upper right hand corner, then select option under 'getting the upgrade.' In my case it was 'your PC is ready.'
After that hopefully you will get a screen like the one below letting you know there are no hardware or software incompatibility issues.
Additional Windows 10 resources:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Software: Microsoft Image Composite Editor (Improved)

Microsoft Image Composite Editor (aka ICE) was one of the best free image stitching programs that I was aware of.  For those not familiar with image stitching programs, they allow you to combine multiple images to create a composite image, such as a panorama picture.

This functionality is now built into modern cameras and phones, so this programs usefulness was limited to those who really needed it.

Microsoft recently updated ICE with new cool features, such as stop-motion action overlaid on the background, and 3D views. Watch the video for more information.

Download the program