First, the big news: Due to unanticipated circumstances, this is the last LangaList Plus running in this newsletter for a while. Fred Langa will return to Windows Secrets when he’s able to — and here’s hoping that’s sooner rather than later. His writing combines two admirable and helpful traits in tech journalism: The ability to explain how something works and the ability to teach readers how to take charge of their own troubleshooting ventures. We’ll be looking for substitute writers who can field user questions about their own misbehaving systems and take a crack at answering them. When we have someone, I’ll let you all know to whom you should be directing your questions. Until I found out about Fred Langa’s unexpected leave of absence on Wednesday, my biggest news for you all was going to be the addition of Richard Hay to the Windows Secrets writers’ roster. Rich has been a Microsoft MVP since 2010, first as a Windows Operating System MVP, then for the Windows and Devices for IT category, and in July 2016, he was also named a Windows Insider MVP. He combines an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the operating system with a real love of hands-on demos … Read More
It can happen in any Windows version: Instead of shutting down promptly, your PC stays on and unresponsive for several long minutes. Here are some easy fixes for shutdown delays. Plus: Information about HerdProtect, an anti-malware meta-scanner that employs 68 different anti-malware engines. Win10 shutdowns taking far too long Under ideal conditions, a clean Windows setup can shut down in seconds. But out here in the real world, shutdowns can take longer — sometimes, far, far longer! Some shutdown delays creep in bit by bit, accumulating over time. You can prevent this type of slowdown with good routine maintenance. (See the January 10, 2017, Best Practices, Top Story, “Start 2017 right with a clean Windows PC.”) This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
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
If you pay attention to the tech news, it’s not hard to pick up a vague sense that the goal of every person, product and company we cover is to render human work obsolete. Some work, I’m glad to see go — scanning in receipts to email to Accounts Payable is a far sight quicker than painstakingly arranging a collage of paper scraps and putting it in the interoffice mail for a three-week turnaround. That’s why I was heartened to read Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s recent comments, where he made the distinction between artificial intelligence tools meant to replace human interaction and artificial intelligence meant to enhance human productivity. As he said during the DLD conference in Munich, “The fundamental need of every person is to be able to use their time more effectively, not to say, ‘let us replace you’.” There a few notable ideas worth unpacking in that quote. First, Nadella is advocating for people to get the most out of their time. Without falling into a debate about “productivity” and who benefits from it — though that is a topic well worth revisiting soon, especially in light of Microsoft’s multiyear focus on AI as a productivity booster … Read More
As Microsoft releases a new Windows 10 beta, we get a patching break. Windows 8.1 in fact only has a Flash update to install. Meanwhile, Redmond has been busy with changes to the upcoming Creator’s release. Upcoming Windows 10 changes Dona Sarkar announced a beta release that makes quite a few changes to Windows update. As she noted on the blog site, the following changes are expected in the next large feature release expected around April of 2017: A feature in the GUI to pause updates for 35 days. We’ve added an option that will enable you to pause updates on your computer for up to 35 days. While this feature already exists for Windows pro and above now, it’s only available via group policy or the registry. This capability will unfortunately only be available on Professional, Education, and Enterprise editions of Windows. A feature to allow you to decide whether or not to include driver updates when you update Windows. Once again, this capability will be available on Professional, Education, and Enterprise editions of Windows. A new icon to the Windows Update Settings page to make easier to see your update status at a glance. Improvements to the logic … 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.
One of the biggest tech events of the year, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), takes place in the beginning of January. As an attendee, I’ve always thought there was a certain pleasing symbolism to the scheduling: It happens on the cusp of the western new year, right as casinos are gearing up to celebrate the lunar new year at the end of the month. And as with new year celebrations, CES is all about embracing the possibilities of the very near future. It’s easy to make fun of the more ridiculous tech offerings at CES — I’m still marveling at the hairbrush that makes product recommendations — but a deeper point remains: We tend to turn to technology to make our very near future — and our present — better. As I was looking at gadgets that turn your Windows 8.1 laptop into a touchscreen device and admiring small handheld scanners, I was also thinking about this newsletter and how it embodies the idea of helping readers improve their lives by improving the experience they have using the tools in their lives. As we move into 2017, Richard Hay and I will be sticking to Windows Secrets’ core mission: to … Read More
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
A dual-boot PC has 32GB of RAM, but the 32-bit Win10 partition sees only a paltry 1.6GB — far below the expected 4GB. Here’s why and a fix. Plus: Win10 steals an apps’ F1 key function, and how to stop Windows Groove — or any other default Win10 app — from automatically launching. Win10 PC has a ‘Hardware Reserved RAM” problem Reader Alvin Davis’ wonders why his 32-bit version of Win10 sees only 1.6GB of memory — on a system with 16GB of installed RAM. “I have been a Windows Secrets subscriber for a number of years. I finally have a question that I’d like to ask. “It’s about Win10 x32 assigning too much memory to ‘hardware reserved.’ “I built a computer system with a Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 7 motherboard, Intel 6700K processor, and MSI Geforce 1060 video card with 6GB of RAM. I also added 16GB (two 8GB sticks) of system memory. “The machine is a dual-boot system; it’ll load 64-bit Win10 from a hard drive or 32-bit Win10 from an SSD. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
If you need a break from holiday celebrations, use the links below to check out interesting discussions in the Windows Secrets Lounge. Some threads have long lives. Look for the “Ongoing” tag in thread title for some of the more popular.