For such a large and complex operating system like Windows 10, there are obviously features Microsoft got completely right and then some that … not so much. Now that we have lived with the various versions and updates of Microsoft’s latest OS, isn’t it time we conduct a postmortem of all that Windows 10 comprises? What do we like and what are our pet peeves? With a selective feature by feature check, I plan to look periodically under a virtual magnifying glass to examine what’s good and bad (or just plain ugly) about each feature. This will be based on both my experience with the OS since its first release and with a composite of opinions from other users (media and end users). To get underway with this continuing series, Feature-By-Feature, here’s are the first three guinea pigs under the glass: Automatic Updates, the Start menu and Contana. In later installments Windows Secrets will examine the good and bad of the Command prompt, Edge browser, One Drive, and the Microsoft Store. Automatic Updates This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Microsoft did a very controversial thing when they released Windows 10. In several spots in the operating system, by default, they are providing tips and suggestions to users as they navigate around Windows 10. When these items first appeared many labelled them as advertisements on Windows and felt that their OS should not be a vehicle for ads. Others viewed them as tools of discovery for apps and system capabilities in the flagship OS. Whether you agree with Microsoft’s use of the OS in this matter or not, like many other areas of the operating system, you can customize these settings and opt-out of this information being presented on your system. Caevat: Many of us who have been using Windows 10 since it was released are very familiar with the OS, its capabilities, and many of the apps that are available in the Microsoft Store. However, if you provide family tech support for someone who is likely not as familiar with the OS as you are, I recommend you consider leaving these discovery tools active. This will allow these users to possibly discover something they didn’t know previously and benefit from that method of discovery. This article is part of … Read More
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.
You’ll find a host of features that can help more easily see, hear, and use Windows. Do you have trouble seeing small fonts or using a mouse or keyboard? Maybe you have issues with your vision or perhaps you’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or another problem that makes it difficult to type or control your mouse? Or perhaps you’d just like to make Windows easier to see and use. Whatever the reason, you can take advantage of the Ease of Access options in any version of Windows from 7 to 10. Through Ease of Access, you can do any or all of the following: Trigger a narrator to read your screen if you have trouble reading it yourself. Enable a magnifier to zoom into parts of the screen so you can better read text and see other elements. Change the contrast to more easily detect specific parts of the screen. Customize your keyboard and mouse so they’re easier to use. And you’ll find other options to turn Windows into a friendlier and more accommodating environment. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
There are a few items sprinkled throughout the OS that tend to not get the headlines or perform any functions that are earth shattering but they deliver capabilities that can be very useful to many Windows 10 users. I have seven items that I want to share with you today. Now, it is likely you know about some of these if you have been using Windows 10 for some time now but I am also sure that there is at least one of these you have never heard about. So, in the spirit of discovery let’s take a look at these hidden gems in Windows 10. Windows 7 Style Start Menu If you are not a fan of the Start Menu with all the Live Tiles spread across your screen there is a way to return to Start Menu that is similar to the one we had in Windows 7. 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.
Since the Windows 10 feature update development cycle stretches out over approximately six months it can be challenging to keep up with the new features introduced for testing in any one of the last fifteen builds that have been released since the big feature update this past autumn. So I thought it would be handy to recap the major feature updates that have made their way into Redstone 4 up until this point as a reference moving forward. Timeline The Fall Creators Update added capabilities that allowed you to create an ecosystem of devices across mobile, desktop, laptop, and tablets that enabled you to pick up on various activities that had been started on other devices. Timeline takes that one step further and provides you with a shared list of activities across any Windows 10 device that you use each day. This activity listing is displayed in a beefed up Task View option and lists browsing and app activities for all of your connected Windows 10 devices. This data is tied to your browsing and activity history and can be turned on or off plus you can control what content is used in this feature through the Microsoft Privacy Dashboard … Read More
Q. “I recently upgraded to Windows 10 and the sidebar on the right side of the screen gets filled up really fast. How can I take control of what appears there?” A. That “sidebar” is officially called the Action Center on Windows 10 and, just like the name indicates, it is the main focal point for notifications and other alerts. It was introduced as part of the initial Windows 10 release. By default, all freshly installed apps, Microsoft Edge, and even some desktop software will push their alerts and other notices to the Action Center. That sounds like a lot. However, Windows 10 is a very customizable operating system . You have complete control over if these items and how they are presented in the Action Center. Right now, you must go into these settings to tweak Action Center notices after a new app is installed. The settings for adjusting what apps can push alerts to your Action Center and the types of alerts which can be used are all located in the Windows Settings app under System>Notifications & actions. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.