We just wrapped up our multi-week walkthrough of features in the April 2018 Update for Windows 10, so naturally, it’s already time for the next feature update to arrive. This semi-annual Windows as a Service (WaaS) release cycle is relentless: As one cycle wraps up another begins, and you are at the next public update before you know it. This is exactly why, just last week, Microsoft extended the lifecycle support period from 18 months to 30 months for the feature updates they release moving from September forward. However, this change is only for Enterprise and Education customers. Consumers running Windows 10 Home or Pro — i.e. most of you reading this — will still be expected to adopt each new feature update shortly after they’re generally available. That means it is better to be prepared and aware of what is coming rather than just be surprised on the day your system installs the latest feature update. The best way to stay up to speed on what is coming in each new feature update for Windows 10 is through the Windows Insider Program. This early-access process allows you to install development builds of the next feature update for Windows 10, experience the … Read More
Tweaking is a way to fine-tune something, and Windows 10 gives us plenty of capabilities to fine-tune the OS to our particular work methods and thus optimize our productivity. I’m sharing some of the tweaks which I have come to rely on, mined from the inner workings of Windows 10, to feed my need for speed. Turn Off Windows Visual Effects, Turn On CPU Speed You can speed up your CPU by turning off CPU-hungry visual effects. Sure, animations and shadows make the user interface look great, but they can consume significant CPU power and eat memory. Follow these steps to turn off different visual effects. Open File Explorer and from the left column, right-click This PC. From the drop-down menu, click Properties. Click Advanced system settings in the left column. Now click the Settings box under Performance. The Visual Effects tab reveals all the visual features Windows loads by default. Click the Custom button and proceed to uncheck the ones you can live without (most of them, actually). I left on only Enable Peek and Save taskbar thumbnail previews but you can adjust accordingly to see how CPU speed and memory improves on your systems. Use Built-in Windows 10 URIs to … Read More
As data breaches and loss of user information becomes an unfortunate norm these days, more end users are starting to adopt the Two Factor Authentication (2FA) method to add an extra layer of security to their various online accounts that support 2FA. First, let’s do a quick review of 2FA and what it provides from a security perspective. When a new account is created at any website/service, you typically select a username and password to access that account in the future. You then validate that account through email with a unique link that validates your reception of that email. At this point the account is active and you can access it with your username and password. If the service supports it, you may be offered to set up 2FA once your account is ready or you may need to go into advanced security settings to begin the process of establishing 2FA on the account. 2FA is established when the second factor of authentication is validated and added to the account. The vast majority of services/websites utilize your wireless phone number and an SMS text message. In this test message, a code is sent to that phone and you then enter … Read More
In our final piece about the April 2018 Update for Windows 10, we are going to talk about the improvements in Microsoft Edge. As a reminder, we’ve looked at the following elements already: Accessibility, Cortana, Continue on PC, Storage Sense, Focus Assist, the Microsoft Store and the security tools. Microsoft’s new browser was released as part of the initial Windows 10 release in July 2015. Since then it has received new capabilities when new feature updates are released for Windows 10. That schedule is also its Achilles heel. Unlike competitors such as Chrome and Firefox, which gets updates and new features at least once per month, Microsoft Edge lags behind due to this semi-annual update schedule. Edge does get security updates each month as part of the normal cumulative update process for Windows 10, but these patches do not introduce new enhancements. Note: There are some indications that work is underway to separate Edge’s update schedule from the release of Windows 10 feature updates twice a year. If this happens then Edge will be able to iterate new features much quicker and that could also help it gain market share. When a feature update is released for Windows 10, Edge has had a long list of improvements and … Read More
Keeping Windows 10 updated can be a never-ending chore. How can you simplify the process? Microsoft uses updates to improve Windows, fix bugs, and plug security holes. So keeping Windows up to date is key to ensuring the security and reliability of your operating system. But Microsoft doesn’t necessarily make it easy: Updates can be intrusive, confusing, and problematic. You want to ensure that the updates don’t bother you when you’re working, that you’re getting all the right updates, and that the updates themselves don’t create trouble. One trick is to know how to tweak the settings for Updates. You can schedule Active Hours to prevent Windows 10 from rebooting your PC after an update. You can view a history of updates to make sure you’re getting the right ones. And you can uninstall an update that’s not working properly. You can even tap into advanced settings to determine which updates you receive and when you receive them. Let’s check out some best practices for updating Windows 10. Previous versions of Windows offer the Windows Update Control Panel applet for you to view and manage your updates. But Windows 10 has since jettisoned the Control Panel tool in favor of … Read More
Our journey through the new features in Windows 10 Version 1803, which was released this past April, is nearly complete. Over the course of this series of articles, we have been working to make you aware of the enhancements that were added for the fifth feature update to Windows 10. As a reminder, we’ve looked at the following elements already: Accessibility, Cortana, Continue on PC, Storage Sense, Focus Assist and the Microsoft Store. This week we are taking a closer look at the security improvements that were made as part of this release. I am going to focus on the consumer-related security changes that were made. Windows Hello This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Whether you are looking for directions to a destination or traffic condition updates or other travel information, the drill up to now has been to go to the usual suspects online — Google Maps, Bing Maps or Mapquest. But you can save a step in Windows 10 since it sports a just-as-resourceful Map app a click away in the Start menu? Powered by Bing and using the powerful HERE Technologies navigation (formally NAVTEQ and Nokia), Windows Maps works equally well on PCs and tablets. It not only gets you from one place to another, it adds a carload of relevant information (restaurants, hotels, gas stations) related to your destination and points along the way. To make your journey in Windows 10 Maps easier and quicker, here’s a road map to finding your way around its bountiful features from its intuitive iconography to its downloadable offline maps. Buttons Help Find Your Way Around the Map Maps works best when you are connected online, logged in to your Microsoft account, and optionally giving permission to location services. ( If you think letting Microsoft know your location is too intrusive, turn off Location services in Settings+Privacy.). With the location service turned on, the … Read More
No operating system is perfect — and one of the most persistent questions for any operating system may be, “Something is broken — how can I figure out what?” Windows has built-in troubleshooters — but the experience of using them in Windows 10 is much different than in prior operating systems. To understand how, let’s look at the way things worked in pre-Windows 10 operating systems. One of the things Microsoft included in the Control Panel of Windows 7 and its two successors is a collection of built-in troubleshooters. Troubleshooters in Windows 7 The idea behind these troubleshooting tools was to help end users solve basic problems with their systems. As you can see in the screenshot above, different categories helped users find the right tool. The various groups had some crossover because some items for troubleshooting involved both hardware and networking such as printers. In Windows 7 and 8.1, there were a total of 25 troubleshooters in the Control Panel’s Troubleshoot Computer Problems listing. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.