Many of you may be building your own computers these days, but just as many computer users buy their next device right off the shelf of their favorite box store or from an online retailer. If you are purchasing a device built by one of the many OEMs, it is very likely that device is going to arrive with a lot of extras pre-installed that come from the company who initially built the device plus some additional overlay style software/controls from the OEM themselves. Of course, as long as you have drivers from the OEM for your device, and most are made available through the products support page, then you could always do a clean install of the operating system and have a pristine image ready for your own software and customizations. Microsoft is also working closely with many manufacturers to include hardware drivers right out of the box to avoid needing to track them down elsewhere. In fact, any OEM devices sold in Microsoft Stores come in this configuration and they call it their Signature Edition PCs. This means they meet all the Windows hardware requirements and contain zero bloat from the manufacturer. If you already have your device or purchased … Read More
OneDrive and Office can work together as a team in Windows 10 to simplify the process of saving and syncing your documents online and across other computers. OneDrive is Microsoft’s go-to service when you want to back up folders and files in the cloud, as well as synchronize them across multiple Windows devices. OneDrive can play an especially helpful role if you’re running a recent version of Microsoft Office, such as Office 2013 or 2016. In this article we will cover how to make OneDrive and Office “play nice” in Windows 10. There are a lot of good reasons for using OneDrive and Office together. For example, you can set up OneDrive so that any Office documents you save are stored not just locally but also in OneDrive–at virtually the same time. If you don’t want to clutter up your hard drive with hundreds or thousands of documents, you can opt to store them just in OneDrive and not on your PC. If you’re collaborating on the same Office documents with other people, you can choose to be alerted whenever those documents are being editing by another person. But what if you don’t have Office? Then you can use the … Read More
You probably use Windows 10’s File Explorer a hundred times a day. You already know how to use it to move around your hard drive. Why bother to learn it better? Because you’ll work more efficiently. This truly excellent file manager has little-known tricks that makes it even more powerful and convenient. You can control what folder the program opens to. You can hide and unhide the ribbon. You can make your favorite File Explorer tools more readily available. And you can use keyboard shortcuts to make everything easier. I’m not going to tell you how to use File Explorer. I assume you already know the basics. But I’ll take you to the next level, and make File Explorer easier and faster for you. The Many Ways to Open File Explorer Of course you know how to open File Explorer. But do you know the fastest and simplest way to do it? Or how to control what folder it opens to? The fastest and easiest way to open File Explorer doesn’t involve your mouse or touchscreen. Simply press Win-E and up comes a File Explorer window. If you’re already running the program, it opens another File Explorer window. This article … Read More
You need to access your Windows 10 PC, but you’re in one place and it’s in another. Perhaps you’re relaxing comfortably in your living room, iPhone or iPad in hand, but you need to view a file on the Windows 10 PC in your home office. Or maybe you need to access more than one computer at the same time and want to connect to them all from one single device.Tough luck? Not necessarily. Using Microsoft Remote Desktop and an iPhone or iPad, you can view files, open apps and control Windows 10 as if you were physically at your PC. Microsoft Remote Desktop is a simple and reliable remote control tool that can be run on an iPhone or iPad. With that said, the experience will be faster and smoother on an iPad since the iPhone is a bit too small to function as a remote control gadget. Setting up Your Remote Desktop Connection Before you install a remote control app on your Apple device, you need to set up your Windows 10 computer to accept remote connections. To do this, right-click on the Start button. From the popup menu, click on the command for Control Panel. At the … Read More
There’s no shortage of technology bloggers who are quick with “best” product badges. I make the distinction myself, calling out certain laptops, routers and other computer hardware. But it’s important to know what’s behind the “best” label. Here’s how I make the determination, based on decades of journalistic and user experience, as well as deep exploration of digital devices. I’m outlining how I devise my criteria and why, so that you can apply this sort of assessment to your own technology options. Step 1: Find Possible Review Candidates Each day, I swim through a sea of public relations pitches and new-product news releases. I go to trade shows and sit through vendor demos. And then there is my daily monitoring of the Web for new products, and my incessant visits to product retailers such as Best Buy and Costco. From all these sources, I compile and evaluate the items I think are worth checking out, and then request review samples. Most are sent as loaners, with the expectation that I will conduct hands-on testing within a certain period of time. Some products are sent to me with no expectation that they be returned. At this stage, I eliminate many products. … Read More
A little over seven years ago, Windows 7 was released to the general public. As of January 14, 2017, it’s been in extended support for two full years. That means there are just three years left for the popular operating system to be supported by its creator, Microsoft. It is never too early to plan for that next operating system upgrade. In fact, a Microsoft employee from Germany made that pitch this week as reported by ARS Technica, recommending that users plan their move early rather than later. If you’ll excuse a little inside baseball, here’s why you Windows 7 users should consider it. Microsoft breaks their lifecycle support down for Windows into two key periods – Mainstream and Extended support. Each period runs for five years each for a total of ten years of product support from Microsoft. The biggest difference between the two support periods? Only during the first five years can product design and feature changes be made. Security updates are provided throughout the entire ten year period. Of course, any company willing to pay can contract Microsoft to provide support beyond those ten years, but as the military learned last year, that is a very expensive … Read More
Optimizing your Windows set-up is one of the most useful and productive things you can do. These quick how-tos can help you tweak your daily computing experience so it’s more convenient. Tip #1: Push your Android phone notifications to Windows 10 with Cortana An update to the Cortana app on Android now allows you to only push those notifications to your Windows 10 desktop and tablet based devices, and fully customize them just like Windows 10 Mobile users can. To get started just install the Cortana app for Android on your device from the Google Play store. Once it is installed, you can open the app and it will ask you to sign in with your Microsoft Account. Make sure you use the same one as your other Windows 10 devices if you want to sync notifications from one system to the others. Once you are logged into Cortana she will of course have access to your Notebook on your Android device and be able to set reminders, provide tips and look up other information for you. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
A little time spent now on preventive maintenance can save hours of system troubleshooting later. It’ll also provide better computing all year long. This article is something of a Windows Secrets tradition: We update, refresh, and then publish a new version of this story in the first issue of each new year. In this iteration, you’ll find more references to top-notch, detailed PC-maintenance how-tos and related information than ever before! Undo a year’s worth of wear and tear This past year was tumultuous for Windows — and most likely for your PCs, too. To start, Windows Update released hundreds of new patches (see list), some in a new cumulative/ roll-up format. And along the way, you’ve probably installed some new third-party software, uninstalled other programs, and upgraded or patched apps and utilities. You may have also altered, tuned, and tweaked various aspects of your system’s user interface, and software and hardware settings. And you’ve undoubtedly created and deleted myriad emails, documents, photos, MP3s, videos, spreadsheets, and so forth. You might even have upgraded your Windows 8, 7, or Vista system to Windows 10. And if you were already using Win10 at the start of last year, you hopefully survived … Read More
Although Win10 is capable of excellent performance, it can run slowly on some systems — even on new “Made for Windows 10” PCs! If you want more speed from your current Win10 setup, or you’re thinking of getting a new Win10 PC this holiday season, here are the major performance-sapping pitfalls you can avoid.