These Windows-compatible productivity apps that will help you get things done effectively. If you’re feeling increasingly digitally distracted, you aren’t alone. Students check their smartphones in class for non-school purposes about a dozen times a day, according to one 2016 survey. And a 2014 survey from Salary.com found that 89% of respondents admitted to wasting time at work. But our computers, smartphones, and tablets aren’t just distraction machines: when used effectively, they can also help us tackle our daily lives more efficiently or collaboratively. A variety of apps available for the Windows OS, both desktop and mobile, provide powerful productivity features including cloud-based document sharing, collaborative project planning, and online time tracking. And many of these apps are designed to work together, allowing you personalize a suite of products that help you complete your tasks, on time, in the way that works best for you and your team. These 15 applications address all stages of productivity, from cutting out online distractions and tracking your time to employee collaboration and high-level project planning. Note-Taking Applications This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Yes, you can add, remove, and maintain your Windows fonts. Click on the font menu in one of your Office applications or another Windows program, and you’ll likely see a cavalcade of fonts, most of which you probably will never use. Other times, you may need a specific font only to discover that it’s not on your system. Whatever your beef with the fonts in Windows, you can get a better handle on them. Managing your fonts is accomplished through the Windows Fonts screen accessible from Control Panel. There, you can view and preview your existing fonts, remove fonts you don’t want to use or see, and view new fonts that you can find online and install in Windows. Let’s look at how to manage and use your fonts in Windows. Windows comes with several fonts already built into the operating system. Certain applications also add more fonts to your collection. Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and other products come packed with their own fonts. Most fonts come in families that include assorted styles. So, for example, an Arial font will be available in regular, black, bold, italic, and bold italic. Viewing, adding, removing, and managing your fonts involves the … Read More
The Windows firewall can be your friend. Here’s how to get along with it. The Windows firewall is around to protect you against malicious apps and other content from the Internet aimed at infecting your PC. Assuming you’re not running a third-party security program with its own firewall, then the Windows Firewall should be active on your machine, looking out for threats. A firewall doesn’t just block malicious applications from hitting your computer but prevents potentially malicious content from being sent from your computer. But the firewall sometimes gets in your way, blocking legitimate content that you want to run and use. You can tweak and fine-tune the firewall so it filters out real dangers while allowing safe content to pass through. Let’s check out the Windows Firewall to see how you can use it and control it. In this article, I use Windows 10 as my client, but the examples you’ll see with Windows firewall works the same in Windows 10, 8.1, and 7. The only differences you’ll see are in the wording of certain features and settings. The Windows firewall supports private networks, such as your home network, as well as public networks, such as ones in a library, … Read More
An image file can restore a sickly Windows 8.1 environment back to a healthy state. Your Windows 8.1 computer is acting funky. Maybe certain Windows features aren’t working properly. Or perhaps Windows is freezing or blue screening. Are you up the creek? Not if you have an image file that you can use to recover Windows. In Windows 8.1, you can use a special command-line utility called recimg to create an image file of your entire Windows environment. Then if something goes kerflooey, you can restore that image file to get Windows 8.1 up and running again. For that reason, you can and should run the command on a regular basis so the image file is always up to date. How can you create this image file and then use it to recover Windows 8.1? Let’s take a look. Since the recimg utility in Windows 8.1 is a command-line utility, it can be quicker to use versus a full GUI program where you must go step by step. Further, simply refreshing your PC without specifying an image file retains your Windows 8.1 apps, your personal files, and customized settings. But it does not retain your desktop applications or your PC … Read More
You can free up memory and boost performance by putting the kibosh on unnecessary startup programs. Every program that automatically loads when Windows starts up chews up more of your PC’s memory. The more programs that muscle their way into your startup routine, the less available memory you have to run your applications. And many programs that start up automatically don’t necessarily need to do so. How can you control your Windows startup programs? In Windows 7, you can use the System Configuration tool. In Windows 8.1 and 10, you can use the Task Manager. But if these built-in tools aren’t sufficient, you can turn to a third-party utility. Such tools as Sysinternals AutoRuns and Autorun Organizer can help you determine which programs you can kick out of your startup routine and how to give them the heave-ho. Let’s see how you can get a better handle on your Windows startup programs. Many Windows programs like to climb onboard your startup routine. Some programs do legitimately need to launch at startup, such as anti-virus software and backup software like Microsoft OneDrive. But a lot of programs insist on starting up automatically whether or not they need to. That may be … Read More
You might think that there is not much more you could do to improve the capabilities of computer keyboards and mice. And really, what much more do you need to type and point, right? I have been reviewing input devices since the days of Windows 3.1. Sure, there have been many technological improvements, as we might expect over the last 25 years since Windows 3.1 was launched. But what’s amazing that in just the last year alone advancements in keyboard and mouse technology tweak what I thought was already the best. Say Hello to the Mouse Master For example, just about two years ago I praised Logitech’s MX Master mouse [link] for its various, robust features that extend mouse calisthenics beyond just navigating and clicking. Back then I thought this was about as far as a pointing device could reach. But now Logitech has indeed upped its game with the MX Master2 [link]. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Ransomware Hits the Same Vulnerabilities Keep calm: While the news is grim over the latest ransomware, the steps we’ve taken earlier will most likely keep most of us secure. It’s key that you have March’s Windows updates installed to protect from the SMBv1 vulnerabilities and April’s Office updates installed to protect from the RTF (Rich Text Format) vulnerability being used in the attacks. In addition, the vulnerability is specifically targeting networks and using some additional tricks up their sleeves as noted in PTSecurity blog post. The attackers are utilizing various network tools such as Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and PsExec to distribute the ransomware throughout a network. It further uses password retrieval tools to gain the local administrator passwords on the workstations in the network. For home and small businesses the best protection is to be vigilant in not opening suspicious emails, and to ensure the March and April updates are installed. What to do: Ensure your systems have the March’s Windows updates installed to protect from the SMBv1 vulnerabilities and April’s Office updates installed. Windows Fixes for IE Printing and Indexing Microsoft has released updates to Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 to fix issues introduced by the June 13th Windows … Read More
These days I do not need a full FTP client as much as I used to several years ago. Part of this is just because we now tend to access everything over the Internet through websites instead of downloads from FTP servers. Remember getting some big updates from a company by downloading from their FTP server? Anyway, while there are plenty of fully equipped FTP clients out there to download, sometimes we just need a quick connection to grab some files – in my case for my website maintenance – and need something straight forward and simple. Well did you know that there is an FTP client built right into the Windows File Explorer? It has actually been there through the last few versions of Windows and is very easy to setup and use for these infrequent FTP sessions. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
You can split, merge, and otherwise manage your partitions in Windows via the Disk Management tool. Your Windows PC may have come with one hard drive and partition or it may have come with a couple of drives and partitions. No matter the original configuration, you may want to manage and modify your disk drive arrangement. Maybe you’d like to create an extra partition to install and run another operating system. Perhaps you want two partitions to separate your personal files from your Windows system files. Or maybe you already have two partitions and now want to remove one of them. You can do all this through the built-in Windows Disk Management tool. Available in all the current and most of the past versions of Windows, Disk Management lets you shrink, create, and delete your partitions. You already know a hard disk is a single physical drive: it’s either a conventional mechanical drive that magnetically stores your data on platters, or a solid-state drive that houses your data on flash memory chips. Computers usually come with a single hard drive, though you can always add a second one. Most vendors offer an option to outfit a desktop with two mechanical … Read More