You can turn to free third-party tools to control your privacy in Windows 10. Microsoft offers you a few ways to take charge of your privacy in Windows 10. There’s the Privacy page under Windows 10 Settings. There’s a new Privacy dashboard. But you may find it more useful and effective to tap into a free third-party utility. These tools can help you view and manage all or most of your privacy settings in one shot, so you can control what information is collected by Microsoft in Windows 10. Such programs include Blackbird, O&O ShutUp10, and Privacy Repairer. By default, Microsoft collects certain information about your use of Windows 10, Edge, Cortana, and other features and applications. In most cases, that data is used to help personalize your experiences in Windows and other software and improve the performance of Microsoft products. But it’s still in your best interest to review the data being gathered and decide what tidbits Microsoft can collect about your use of its products and what you want to keep private. Let’s look at the three free third-party privacy tools to see how each one can help you regulate your privacy. Blackbird This article is part of … Read More
Not fully happy with the Windows 10 Start menu? You may want to try out a Start menu alternative. The Window 10 Start menu is a welcome addition for those of us who missed the menu in Windows 8 and 8.1. But it may not be the perfect solution for everyone. The new Start menu marries the traditional column of applications with the tiled approach of the Start screen. Those of you not too crazy about tiles might not care for this arrangement. Sure, you can unpin all the tiles from the Start menu but then you’re limited to just the single All Apps column, which doesn’t seem ideal either. Further, the Start menu’s All Apps list contains folders or shortcuts for every single program you install. That approach can easily lead to a long and crowded list of apps that becomes cumbersome to navigate. Yes, you can edit and rearrange the Windows 10 Start menu to some degree by opening the Programs folder in File Explorer. From there you can create and delete folders and move shortcuts into other folders. But you can’t create subfolders and you can’t move Windows 10 apps into folders. Okay, so let’s say you’re … Read More
You can add and maintain more than one email account in Microsoft Outlook and easily bounce from one to another. Here’s how. Do you use Microsoft Outlook but have more than one email account? Instead of separately checking your messages from your primary account and your Gmail account and any other mail accounts, you can add them all to Outlook and access each one from the same application. The process of adding multiple accounts isn’t difficult, and once you’ve set them up, you then have a single spot in which you can check all your email. I set up my primary email account, my Gmail account, and an account for one of my clients all under the umbrella of Outlook. That gives me easy access to all my email and allows me to use Outlook’s robust, built-in features with each account. Let’s say you haven’t yet configured Microsoft Outlook with any accounts. Open Outlook. Click Next to get past the intro screen. Then answer Yes to the question: Do you want to set up Outlook to connect to an email account? Next choose the option for Manual setup or additional server types. Outlook asks if you want to use an … Read More
Here are some ways you can resuscitate your Windows 10 PC should it ever appear to kick the bucket. You just set up a new Windows 10 computer. You’ve installed all your applications and have placed all your documents and other files in the proper folders. But what would happen if your hard drive crashed or Windows became unstable and inaccessible, and you couldn’t retrieve your applications or files? Well, before such an event potentially occurs, there are steps you can take to prepare your Windows 10 PC to survive a disaster. Using the System Image Backup tool, you can create an image file of your computer that can be restored if your Windows environment goes kaput. Using the System Repair Disc feature, you can create a bootable disc to use if Windows itself ever becomes unbootable. And using File History, you can back up your key documents and other files to an external source where you can recover them if the originals ever get lost or corrupted. Let’s look at each of these Windows saving features. System Image Backup This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
You can adjust and strengthen Windows 10 security settings through Group Policy. Here’s how. You want to tighten the security features and policies in Windows 10 but you’re not sure where to go. Well, there is a Settings screen where you can enable or disable several privacy settings. But if you want to manage and maintain the security settings in the OS, one method is through the Group Policy Editor. Using this tool, you can control settings for anyone who uses the same computer. You’ll find settings for password length and complexity, the account lockout policy, the Windows firewall, and the audit policies. Though Group Policy is typically used in an organization, it can also be recruited to tweak settings on an individual computer, whether that PC is used by one person or by multiple people in a home or small office. The local security policies for Windows 10 are contained in a Group Policy snap-in called secpol.msc. By opening this snap-in in your Group Policy Editor, you can tweak each individual setting. This gives you the power to set security policy for any Windows 10 computer in your home or office. Anyone who logs into a computer for which … Read More
Microsoft Edge already has some security tricks up its sleeve, but you can beef up the browser still further. Windows 10 users, you’re probably using Microsoft Edge to surf the web. But how secure is the newest browser on the block? And how can you tweak it to make it more secure? Edge already includes or takes advantage of several features that enhance your security. But it also offers several options that you can enable or disable to better protect your privacy on the web and ensure that you’re practicing safe surfing. You can make sure the SmartScreen filter is turned on to protect you from malicious websites. You can use InPrivate browsing so no cookies or other data are collected. You can opt to block cookies, especially ones from third-party websites. You can choose to clear your browsing history, especially whenever you shut down Edge. And you can remove your Bing search history. First, let’s go over the security features already built into or used by Edge. One item is SmartScreen. Initially developed for Internet Explorer 8, SmartScreen checks each webpage you visit and each file you download to make sure they don’t contain malware. The feature works by … Read More
You can use a password manager to generate, store, and apply your website passwords. Here’s how to set one up for each browser and device you use. Managing the passwords for all your websites is a challenge. Not only are you supposed to come up with a complex password that can’t easily be guessed or hacked. But you’re supposed to employ a different password for each website you use. Some require both upper- and lowercase letters, others require that plus a number and a special character, some grade your password on degree of difficulty to crack, forcing you to break away from any tricks you’ve used to generate passwords you can remember. And now, we all live in a world where we are hitting the same websites and services across a broad array of devices, from desktop computers to mobile phones. You’ll want to manage your passwords on all your web browsers on all your devices. And you’ll want to sync your website passwords across all your browsers and devices. How is all that possible? We have a two-word answer for you: password managers. Such tools can conjure up complex passwords for each website and then automatically apply those passwords every time … Read More
You can rely on password managers to automatically take care of your website passwords, but there are a few hurdles you’ll have to overcome. Password managers provide an effective means of cooking up and controlling your website passwords so you don’t have to deal with the hard part of creating them, using them on the Web and — this is key — remembering them. Such tools offer several benefits, including the ability to generate complex passwords, store and remember your passwords, and automatically apply them at their respective websites. But you still need to be aware of potential snags when using a password manager. For example, you have to create and remember a complex master password that can protect all your other passwords, otherwise there’s the possibility of someone gaining access to your passwords. Your passwords are typically stored on a server maintained by the vendor, and we know that servers can be hacked. Plus, password managers are only good on the devices on which they’re installed. Use a friend’s PC or a computer at the library, and you’re stuck because you don’t have access to the passwords for your sites. How can you benefit from the pros of password managers … Read More
I’m a sucker for a free software utility. I love discovering programs that can make my computing life easier. Microsoft offers an array of useful and free utilities, and some of my favorites fall under the umbrella of a group known as Windows Sysinternals. Created by Microsoft Azure Chief Technology Officer Mark Russinovich, Sysinternals consists of utilities that can enhance Windows, gather useful information, and troubleshoot specific problems. What’s cool about the Sysinternals tools is that they run the gamut from simple to complex, are well-designed, and don’t require an installation. I’ve used several of the Sysinternals tools over the years and have come up with some favorites that I think would help many Windows users. Let’s look at each tool. Autologon Windows 10 and 8.1 force you to enter your password at the sign in or lock screen as a means of security. If you’re working in an office or other public place and step away, you wouldn’t want someone to be able to access the information on your computer. But if you’re at home or another private place, entering your login credentials isn’t as necessary since no one else is around to peek at your data. In this … Read More
It’s a multiplatform world: You can be a Windows user on your desktop or laptop, yet still be happily carrying an iPhone or using an iPad. Now, say you use Microsoft Outlook on your Windows machine and you want to synchronize your calendar appointments in both Outlook and on your iOS device. How can you do this? Well, if you run Microsoft Outlook on the same PC on which iTunes is installed, the operation is fairly simple. You can use either iTunes or iCloud to perform the synchronization. But what if your Outlook and iTunes computers are different? For example, I run Outlook on my laptop and iTunes on my desktop. The sync procedure becomes a bit more challenging but still doable. One option is to set up a sync between your Outlook calendar and a Google calendar and then between your Google and iPhone calendars. Sounds tricky, but it works. Let’s go over the different ways you can accomplish your calendar synchronization. Sync Through iTunes This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.