Q. What is Dynamic Lock used for on Windows 10? A. When Microsoft introduced Windows 10 almost three years ago, one of the unique features that would be part of the new operating system was Windows Hello, a feature that would use biometrics to allow end users to log into their Windows 10 devices (so long as the device could support the technology). In last year’s Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft added a counterpart to Windows Hello with Dynamic Lock – jokingly referred to as Windows Goodbye – a feature to help to secure your Windows 10 device when you walk away from it. Dynamic Update uses the proximity of a Bluetooth device such as a smartphone, headset, or any other paired device that you have around your computer to automatically lock your device once the paired item is out of range. For most people, their smartphone is the most likely device that will be used for this purpose, as we all usually pick up our phones as we leave our desks. The amount of time your paired device needs to be out of range is about one minute according to Microsoft. That will vary depending on the strength of Bluetooth on … Read More
Microsoft originally introduced HomeGroup as part of Windows 7. It enhanced peer to peer sharing across home networks , making it easy to share files and printer access between devices and users. Of course, this was before the days of OneDrive and its multi-device accessible cloud storage service, the introduction of network aware printers, and the integrated sharing functionality that is now a standard part of Windows 10. This past December, when Microsoft released Windows 10 Redstone 4 Build 17063, they announced the upcoming retirement and removal of the HomeGroup service as part of Windows 10 Version 1803. Just as a reminder – Windows 10 Version 1803 is the fifth feature update for Windows 10 that is expected to be released in the March/April 2018 time frame. If you are running Windows Insider builds including 17063 and beyond, then the HomeGroup Listener and Provider services have been removed from the OS, the HomeGroup icon no longer appears in File Explorer, and the Control Panel options for HomeGroup are also gone. If you are not using HomeGroup on the current release version of Windows 10, then you likely still have the HomeGroup icon listed when you use File Explorer. The HomeGroup … Read More
One of the great things about Windows 10 is how it allows you to tweak the system so it best fits your usage habits. One of the biggest areas of customization is the primary interface to the OS – the Start Menu. It’s come a long way since its debut in Windows, and even over the last two and a half years, it has continued to mature. The customizations are all up to you. Let’s go over the key options for making the Windows 10 Start Menu all yours. Start Menu Settings The options for configuring your Start Menu are located at Windows Settings > Personalization > Start. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
This newsletter is called Windows Secrets, but if listening to Microsoft for the last couple of years has shown us anything, it’s that we are all moving into a multiplatform world. So I’ve started looking at the types of user experiences we’re all likely to have as our family members bring home non-Windows machines and expecte everything to work together seamlessly. One of the first non-Windows operating systems I have begun learning is ChromeOS. However, short of having a Chromebook, there is no downloads available of the ChromeOS itself so that it can be installed in a virtual machine on your Windows PC. However, I did find a way to install the ChromiumOS – the open source base for ChromeOS – on a bootable USB flash drive. If you’d like to start playing around with ChromiumOS, follow these steps. First, start at Neverware’s website. In 2015, they developed CloudReady, a lightweight OS that is built from ChromiumOS and provides users the ability to run it on nearly any hardware. According to Neverware, CloudReady is in use on hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide in education, enterprise, and individuals. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid … Read More
Ask @WinObs: I Upgraded to Windows 10 and Want to Give Microsoft Some Feedback. What Is the Best Way to Do That?
Q. I Upgraded to Windows 10 and Want to Give Microsoft Some Feedback. What Is the Best Way to Do That? A. Good news! Microsoft welcomes feedback and has even built the Feedback Hub, a Wimdows 10 app that allows you to explore feedback that has already been submitted by others and to submit your own feedback when you have a suggestion or run into a problem. The Feedback Hub can be used to provide feedback on different elements of the OS, and you can also submit feedback on Windows 10 apps, both from Microsoft and third party developers. Your feedback for apps is routed to the appropriate team or third party developer for evaluation and action. While many people also send feedback via social media sites like Twitter to the Microsoft employees they follow there, you will consistently be asked to add that information to the Feedback Hub because that is the central depository for all the feedback around Windows 10. In addition to creating your own feedback, you can also go into the app and upvote feedback submitted by other users. You can browse the submitted feedback and add your upvote to any item listed. This helps validate the issue/problem and … Read More
Q. I’ve read a lot about two-factor authentication. What is it, do I need it, and what apps will help me get it? Two-factor authentication (2FA) just means that we have a second element of proving who we are when accessing one of our online accounts that supports this feature. That second factor for many people is primarily their smartphone. The most widely used 2FA process involves sending a code via text message to your mobile phone, which you then enter into the website you are trying to access. Some systems also use email to deliver codes for the same purpose. The concept behind this process is that you have already confirmed that you own that smartphone when you provided the phone number to the site via your profile or other 2FA settings. (At that time, you were likely sent a code or link to validate that you have that phone in your possession.) So here’s what happens when you try to access that website after setting up 2FA: You provide your username and password You are sent a code, via text or email depending on the option you selected when setting up 2FA. You enter that into the website … Read More
Q. I don’t like the default settings on my Start Menu. How do I change them so my Start Menu better reflects my computing preferences? A. Windows 10 is one of the most customizable versions of Microsoft’s operating system, and it allows you to tweak things so the whole operating system best fits your usage habits. One of the biggest areas of customization is the primary interface to the OS – the Start Menu. Let’s go over the menu settings, which will show how you can make the Windows 10 Start Menu all yours. Start Menu Settings The options for configuring your Start Menu are located at Windows Settings > Personalization > Start. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Q. How can I connect my Android phone with Windows 10? A. Sharing between all your devices is becoming a very necessary part of both work and recreational use these days. The cloud and your Microsoft Account help make the connections easy so that setup is not a hindrance to being flexible with how you need to work with your files and documents. While there is the possibility to connect both your iOS and Android devices into this ecosystem, the capabilities are different for each platform. I use the Samsung Galaxy S8 as my smartphone so that is the basis of my experience and what I will share here today because that is my frame of reference. It is possible to connect a compatible Android smart phone to Windows 10. Let’s walk through how. Begin the process from Windows Settings > Phone on Windows 10 Fall Creators Update or beyond. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Q. I don’t want to be one of those people who learns too late that they should have backed up their home computer. I need a crash course in how to get my Windows 10 machine backed up regularly — preferably without requiring buying a backup service. Thanks! A. “You don’t want to realize you need a backup when you actually need a backup.” It happened to me once and I swore to never again be caught without a backup plan. It happened to my wife’s computer and that added even more stress to the situation because she lost some very important personal work when that solid-state drive failed on her PC. Since those incidents, I started using features in Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service. That allowed me to sync our data directories including Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos, etc., across all our devices. While not a true backup, the service syncs changes between devices and the cloud, OneDrive does offer access to a recycle bin through the web portal along with file version history that would allow you to retrieve an inadvertently deleted or changed file. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click … Read More
This year at CES, voice-activated personal assistants were everywhere. Here, I’ll run down the ones I saw and where they’re likely to pop up in your house. Google Assistant Most ubiquitous was Google’s Assistant, because it was showing up all along the Las Vegas Strip — on billboards, on the sides of buildings, various kiosks, and plastered on every car of the Las Vegas Monorail. You would even find overall-clad members of the Google Assistant army throughout the CES show floor, most commonly in booths offering products that integrated Google’s Assistant. For many, this visibility won the show for Google — but we also know that Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa is well out in front both for sales of units and in its skills library. Amazon Alexa The aforementioned Alexa didn’t have an aggressive marketing blitz backing it but it had a significant presence on the show floor. The number of products that are incorporating Alexa into their capabilities is nearly untrackable. It ranged from automobiles, smart mirrors, desktop wireless charging stands, Internet of Things, Smart Homes, televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners, pet feeders, and even smaller gadgets like headphones and smart watches. This article is part of our premium content. … Read More