Author Archives: Richard Hay
The next stop on our tour of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, aka Windows 10 Version 1803, is to look at two elements of the operating system that are now delivered through the Microsoft Store app. As a reminder, we’ve looked at the following elements already: Accessibility; Cortana, Continue on PC, Storage Sense and Focus Assist. These updates are important in this latest feature update to Windows 10 because they are a likely precursor to future changes. I believe we can expect more elements of the operating system to move in the same direction in future updates. Microsoft is well on their way to converting the legacy Control Panel we all know from Windows 7/8.1 into the modern Windows Settings app and this is another step in that migration. By adding local experience packs and fonts to the Microsoft Store in the April 2018 feature update, these items can be updated separate from the operating system itself. Now fonts are not changed all that often, but local experience packs are tweaked regularly to keep them accurate. Including these in the Microsoft Store means they can be updated like any app installed on your device. Maximum convenience for the end user once they are installed. … Read More
With the steady flow of feature updates about every six months now, operating system changes are measured in increments versus leaps. That is why we’re running through a series of articles and highlight the specific changes that are part of each feature update. This week we are looking at accessibility updates in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. (Editor’s note: Prior updates have covered Cortana, Continue on PC, Storage Sense and Focus Assist.) The first thing that has been done for accessibility in this update is a consolidation of most of the Accessibility options under the Ease of Access area of Windows Settings. Users no longer have to hunt across different menus. Ease of Access Settings in Windows Settings – April 2018 Update Beyond centralizing many of the accessibility options here, you will also notice that the various features have been organized in related areas such as Vision, Hearing and Interaction. You can now go directly into the subset of settings in each of those categories to quickly find the feature you are looking to configure/setup. Hardware Keyboard Suggestions/Auto-Correct Settings – April 2018 Update The on-screen keyboard for Windows 10 has had text prediction for a while however, that capability has never been available for your physical … Read More
I recently wrote about how to protect important folders using new features in the OneDrive sync client. That story prompted an email from one of our readers who asked me about the encryption of OneDrive files. There are two answers depending on your version of OneDrive. If you are a consumer OneDrive user, i.e. you have the free version of OneDrive and Office 365 Personal and Home subscribers, then your OneDrive files are only encrypted as they move between your system and Microsoft’s data center. They are also encrypted if that storage is moved between their data centers. In other words, anytime those files you place on OneDrive are transmitted or received, they are encrypted. This encryption occurs whether you are sending and receiving OneDrive files through your web browser, the sync client or the mobile OneDrive apps on iOS and Android. Once that file is stored in one of Microsoft’s data centers it is not encrypted any further. This is commonly referred to as data being encrypted at rest. If you are a commercial Office 365 customer, then your OneDrive data is also encrypted during its transit to and from your devices like it is for consumers. However, commercial … Read More
In looking at the April 2018 update for Windows 10, we’ve explored Continue on PC, Storage Sense and Focus Assist. Our next stop on the tour is Cortana. As many of you know, Cortana is Microsoft’s personal digital assistant and has been part of Windows 10 since the initial release almost three years ago. Each feature update to Windows 10 has introduced changes, enhancements and new capabilities for Cortana including a few that were added for the April 2018 update. Let’s look at those additions. Cortana Talks to More Devices The biggest growth area for Cortana in the April 2018 Update was the number of smart home devices she can now connect to. Cortana can access devices from ecobee3, Honeywell Lyric (now called Honeywell Home), Honeywell Total Connect Comfort, Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Thermostat E, Hue, Insteon, LIFX, Lutron, SmartThings/Samsung Connect, TP-Link Kasa and Wink. Use Cortana’s Notebook to confirm that any smart home device you have now works with Cortana, then easily connect with your existing devices. Provide Cortana the account credentials to those connected home service providers. The best approach is to set up those devices on their own sites to connect everything and then introduce them to Cortana through … Read More
Hello everyone! I am taking a slightly different approach this week and not answering a question but talking about an event that happened this week — the introduction of the Microsoft Surface Go. The 10-inch tablet has a surprisingly low entry-level price of $399 – and that is before adding any accessories like a keyboard, pen and mouse. As a 10-inch tablet with full touch and inking support, it could be a very comfortable second screen for consumption, social media and light email, not unlike the capabilities inherent in the Apple iPad. Surface Go (Via Microsoft) This device is going to help grow the Surface brand because it is the first time Windows-oriented consumers can pick up a branded device at this price level. (Apple’s had a low-cost iPad since March 2018.) Even the high-end Surface Go, which based on its specs would be the performance buy, is listed at $549. For what it offers — and the ease with which it moves between light entertainment and serious productivity, thanks to the full Office 365 suite of software — that’s a great bargain. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Previously, I shared a process that allowed you to sync your Internet Explorer favorites using OneDrive. The premise behind the hack was to centrally store all your IE favorites in a single directory on OneDrive. Synching the favorite shortcuts this way tended to be much faster than depending on the built-in synching that IE itself performs. However, after writing that hack, I started to see an error on my bare metal test devices which were using that OneDrive sync method. OneDrive Folder Error Dialog This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Over the last year, Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service has gone through some significant changes. The first was the return of Files On-Demand, reviving end users’ ability to see their entire cloud storage file structure, then select whether files should be stored locally or in the cloud. The return of Files On-Demand also introduced a dynamic file management process that would adjust local storage of your cloud files based on how often you accessed those files on that system. Although OneDrive is deeply integrated into the Windows 10 operating system, the primary tool used to manage the syncing of your cloud storage is the OneDrive sync client. That piece of software is not tied to Microsoft’s semi-annual features updates for the OS, so the team can ship updates at any time to continue improving the service. Note: An additional benefit of the OneDrive sync client is that it is the only program needed to sync both consumer and OneDrive for Business files stored in the cloud service. This week Microsoft announced the initial rollout of a feature for OneDrive for Business users called Known Folder Move. This allows IT departments to redirect common user folders in Windows 10 such as Desktop, Documents, and … Read More
As we continue our trek through various enhancements and new capabilities in the recently released Windows 10 April 2018 Update (see here and here), we next stop at Focus Assist. Focus Assist is not new for Windows 10 – in previous feature updates for Windows 10, it was known as Quiet Hours. When this name change was announced, the general reception was that it made no sense and the Quiet Hours name was more than adequate for the feature. I have long felt that the April 2018 Update was focused — no pun intended — on productivity and that is how Microsoft explained this name change: Focus Assist helps you get more done by easily blocking notifications, sounds, and alerts to create distraction-free work times. This is helpful if you’re giving a presentation or trying to focus on a paper, you can use Focus Assist to block interruptions or distractions. While Quiet Hours also helped users by providing no interruptions when the feature was turned on, it also lacked in-depth management options of who or what could break through the silence. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Q. I heard about Messages for Android on the Web this week – what is that all about? A. You did indeed hear correctly. Google confirmed that they have enabled the ability to send and receive text messages over the web. This new capability supports text (SMS) and image (MMS) based messages. It also provides the mobile-averse with another way to send and receive messages, so let’s review how you’d use this on your computer. Before we get started, there are a couple of caveats in order to use this capability. You must install the Android Messages app from the Play Store. After you have the app installed, you must to make it your default messaging app on your device. (Just open it up and follow the steps to easily make that change.) On your computer open a supported web browser (Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari) and browse to https://messages.android.com This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
This past April, Microsoft began the rollout of the fifth feature update for the Windows 10 operating system. As a follow-up to our hands-on and review of the April 2018 Update, we are going to dive a little deeper into many of the updates and enhancements in this feature update. This will help you and those you provide assistance take advantage of these capabilities to keep your system well maintained. Today we are going to take a closer look at Storage Sense so you can put disk maintenance on auto-pilot for your system. Storage Sense provides automatic maintenance of your disk space and based on your choices will clean up temporary files, past Windows Updates, and other system files on an as-needed basis. This feature is a replacement for the desktop program called Disk Cleanup that performs a similar functionality in past versions of Windows. Disk Cleanup is still in Windows 10 however, the expectation is that Storage Sense will completely take over for that software in the future as Microsoft continues to move many legacy features and functionality into the modern Windows Settings app. To get started you access the new options for Storage Settings at Windows Settings > … Read More