Not fully happy with the Windows 10 Start menu? You may want to try out a Start menu alternative. The Window 10 Start menu is a welcome addition for those of us who missed the menu in Windows 8 and 8.1. But it may not be the perfect solution for everyone. The new Start menu marries the traditional column of applications with the tiled approach of the Start screen. Those of you not too crazy about tiles might not care for this arrangement. Sure, you can unpin all the tiles from the Start menu but then you’re limited to just the single All Apps column, which doesn’t seem ideal either. Further, the Start menu’s All Apps list contains folders or shortcuts for every single program you install. That approach can easily lead to a long and crowded list of apps that becomes cumbersome to navigate. Yes, you can edit and rearrange the Windows 10 Start menu to some degree by opening the Programs folder in File Explorer. From there you can create and delete folders and move shortcuts into other folders. But you can’t create subfolders and you can’t move Windows 10 apps into folders. Okay, so let’s say you’re … Read More
In the pre-Windows 10 days, the general consensus was that you did not upgrade to a newer edition of Windows until the first Service Pack was being made available. That first year let you listen to other people’s horror stories and evaluate whether or not you really wanted to upgrade. But what do you do with Windows 10, since it is supported with monthly cumulative updates and bi-annual feature updates? The Windows as a Service (WaaS) method of maintaining Windows 10 has been a learning experience for both Microsoft and its users, because it is so different to what we are used to with the normal annual Service Pack. Now that we’ve had nearly two years to assess how Windows as a Service is working, does it still make any sense to avoid upgrading and avoid the WaaS experience? WaaS has hit a few bumps in the road with updates that break things. And yes, one entire month’s Patch Tuesday was postponed for a reason that remains unknown to the general public. And WaaW introduces new glitches: last year, with the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, nobody knew the update would break popular webcams and Kindles until users began installing it. Ten million Windows Insiders … Read More
The Creators Update release for Windows 10 is right around the corner. Before it is available to the general public, there are a couple of steps you (and I) need to take to prepare our computers for the release. Let’s walk through them together. The first step is to take stock of of your system. Look back over the past several months of installing updates. Has your computer had any issues installing prior updates? Have you had issues installing any of the Windows 10 patches? Have there been any consistent error messages you received? Have you been unable to install a previous update? If any of these things have occurred, you need to review why your machine is not successfully installing updates, then fix that problem before considering installing the Creators Update. Windows 10 has a lengthy list of update errors and ways to work through them and fix them. There is one more tip I’d like to recommend before the feature release comes out: Review your choice of antivirus software. Some of the very software that is there to protect us can lead to issues when installing updates. Computer security should be a top priority, so this is why I still believe that feature … Read More
Here are some ways you can resuscitate your Windows 10 PC should it ever appear to kick the bucket. You just set up a new Windows 10 computer. You’ve installed all your applications and have placed all your documents and other files in the proper folders. But what would happen if your hard drive crashed or Windows became unstable and inaccessible, and you couldn’t retrieve your applications or files? Well, before such an event potentially occurs, there are steps you can take to prepare your Windows 10 PC to survive a disaster. Using the System Image Backup tool, you can create an image file of your computer that can be restored if your Windows environment goes kaput. Using the System Repair Disc feature, you can create a bootable disc to use if Windows itself ever becomes unbootable. And using File History, you can back up your key documents and other files to an external source where you can recover them if the originals ever get lost or corrupted. Let’s look at each of these Windows saving features. System Image Backup This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Last month, for the first time since Microsoft started Patch Tuesdays in the early 2000’s, the software company delayed issuing patches and updates for its software products that were scheduled to be updated on February 14, 2017. While the specific reason was not officially provided by Microsoft, according to some reports, it was either an issue with a particular patch or the system that prepares the monthly collection of updates for distribution. A couple of days later Microsoft officially announced that those patches would be rolled into the March cycle of Patch Tuesday updates and those are scheduled to arrive next Tuesday. Yet this past Tuesday, patches for Office were pushed out to users over Windows Update, so that shows the delivery mechanism itself is working fine. There are no indications from Microsoft that we should not see a normal Patch Tuesday next week. I am sure if I asked many of you about Microsoft, Windows Update, and system patches most of you would not use the word normal to describe that process. In fact, over the years there have been many issues with patches that gets issued each month. This has become an even bigger concern for end users as Microsoft … Read More
Is Windows misbehaving on you? Freezing? Crashing? Blue screening? Problems like that can be tough to troubleshoot. They could be hardware-related. They could be software-related. How can you tell? Well, one step you can take is to run two commands in Windows to check for disk or memory issues. The chkdsk command can scan your hard drive for trouble. And the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool can scan your memory for any glitches. These tools have been around for years and are still available in Windows 10 as they still get the job done. Check for Disk Errors with Chkdsk Let’s try out the chkdsk command first. Your hard drive, whether it’s physical disk or a solid state drive, uses a file system to keep track of all its data. Sometimes that file system can become corrupted with errors that affect its performance and reliability. Your disk drive can also develop bad sectors, which are small areas of storage that take up a certain amount of space. These problems often result in unreadable files, among other problems. In both cases, the chkdsk command can reveal errors with your file system or hard disk and hopefully fix them. You can trigger the … Read More
Last week, in part one of this two part article, I discussed the current state of affairs when it comes to Microsoft, Windows 10, and Privacy: Microsoft’s recent efforts in the upcoming Creators Update, and the first half of the 16 privacy settings categories in the operating system. Windows 10 and privacy concerns have once again garnered headlines because the European Union is concerned that the new efforts in the Creators Update do not go far enough to give users full control over their data and privacy settings in the operating system. Their biggest concerns are around the user not having more control over the default privacy settings when Windows 10 is installed or the users lack of control relating to the personal data that Microsoft collects and uses. As I explained last week in part one, Microsoft has made changes in response to privacy concerns including a new central privacy portal for everything relating to data collection and privacy plus they have established a new Privacy Dashboard to give users the ability to see what data is being collected and delete it at their discretion. It seems these efforts are not enough according to the EU: “Microsoft should clearly explain … Read More
Even before Windows 10 first became available back in 2015, concerns about privacy and the operating system have gotten play on different tech sites and in forum comments. Initially, it seemed as if Microsoft avoided addressing those concerns and stayed quiet, choosing not to get specific about privacy on their new OS. This, of course, ramped up users’ concerns and it was up to Microsoft to work on addressing those concerns. That resulted in Microsoft creating a new, extensive privacy portal that contained a statement from CEO Satya Nadella, as well as information about the data Microsoft collects. Microsoft’s privacy approach is based on six principles as laid out by Satya Nadella in his letter about privacy: Control – We will put you in control of your privacy with easy-to-use tools and clear choices. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Windows 10 comes with a couple of features built into the operating system that lets you easily install a fresh clean copy of Windows 10 to remove OEM clutter or to simply reset your current installation to resolve ongoing system issues. I previously shared with you details about the Refresh Tool for Windows 10, which downloads clean install media for your Windows 10 system, then installs a clean copy of Windows 10 without the extra OEM software and settings overlays — you know, things that can clutter up a Windows system straight out of the box. This week, I want to tell you about the other option that comes in Windows 10 called Reset this PC. This option is similar to the Refresh Tool, except it uses the installation media provided by your device manufacturer, which is normally stored on a recovery partition on your system, and it will also contain all of those OEM programs and other helper tools that are typical on most OEM systems. Call it clutter, bloatware, or junk but it is integrated into the recovery media so it gets reinstalled each and every time you reset your system back to its original out of the … Read More
Move over, Internet Explorer: Microsoft Edge is the default browser in Windows Ten-town. Although IE is still around — the shortcut is buried in the Start menu under Windows Accessories — Microsoft clearly wants Windows 10 users to adopt Edge as their favorite new browser. After all these years, Internet Explorer has grown long in the tooth, especially compared with rival browsers such as Google Chrome. Edge is a more streamlined browser, one that dispenses with the menu bar, favorites list, and other items that clutter up the screen. But as the new kid on the block, Edge might feel alien to longtime Windows and IE users. The lack of toolbars and other familiar features can be off-putting. In some ways, Edge is also a work in progress. Whereas IE supports virtually all types of extensions and add-ons, Edge currently handles only a select few. You can still install and use Firefox and Chrome in Windows 10. However, you may just want to give Edge a whirl to see if you like it or at least can grow comfortable with it. And one way of getting comfortable is by tweaking the browser with your favorite features and options so it works the … Read More