You likely depend on your Microsoft account so you want to make sure it’s safe and secure. You probably use your Microsoft Account for a variety of tasks. You may use it to sign into your Windows 10 PCs and other devices. You might use it to access Microsoft Office, Skype, and other Microsoft products and subscriptions. You can use it to sign into various Microsoft services such as Xbox Live. And you may use it to establish your payment options with Microsoft. For all those reasons and more, you want to make sure your Microsoft Account credentials don’t fall into the wrong hands. How can you secure and protect your account? We will walk you through these security fundamentals: First, you need to ensure that you’re using a strong and complex password. (Make sure it’s not one of these.) Then you can secure your account and verify your identity by using backup email addresses or a phone number and a code sent via text message. You can set up two-factor authentication to further protect your account. And you can verify your identity on your mobile phone via the Microsoft Authenticator app. I’ll assume you already have a Microsoft Account to … Read More
Welcome back to our examination of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update (also be known under its official name of Windows 10 Version 1803 (OS Build 17134.1). In part one of the review, I suggested it be called the Productivity Update. I’ll keep calling it that in this examination of some other highly useful features: Cortana, Startup Apps Control, Accessibility, Microsoft Edge and Security. Cortana Cortana has received a slight makeover with new information cards for both her Notebook and Skills areas when you click on the Cortana icon on the Windows 10 Taskbar. This makes these settings faster to access because they are just one level away when you open Cortana. There is also an edit icon next to your name so that you can adjust the Places which Cortana knows about such as Home and Work. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Here’s how to take advantage of the best and brightest features in Firefox. Though Firefox may have lost ground against rival web browsers, it remains an effective web browser, especially with the release of Firefox Quantum in November, which boosted speed and performance. Firefox is my favorite browser and the one I use as my default. I like the Firefox interface for its simplicity and power. And I find it easy to customize. To squeeze the most out of Firefox, you’ll want to tweak its different features and options. You can modify the toolbars, select your search engines, and tighten your privacy and security. You can sync your bookmarks, passwords, and history list across different devices. And you can enhance Firefox by installing any of thousands of different add-ons. Let’s see how you can best use and tweak Firefox. First, make sure you’ve updated Firefox to the latest version to grab the performance boost from Quantum. To do this, open Firefox, click on the Help menu. (Don’t see the menu bar at the top of the browser? Right-click on any empty area at the top and then select the option for Menu bar.) From the Help menu, select About Firefox. … Read More
Now that it’s been released to the public, it’s time to take a closer look at the fifth major feature update to Microsoft’s latest operating system. This feature update has been in development since July 2017 and there have been 27 public development builds released to testers over that nearly nine-month period. Microsoft never formally named this feature update like they have done in the past with monikers like Anniversary, Creators, and Fall Creators Update. Instead, they have chosen to simply call it the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. It will also be known under its official name of Windows 10 Version 1803 (OS Build 17134.1). If I were providing suggestions for naming this feature update, then I would recommend calling it the Productivity Update. The key additional features in this package of updates really can help you be more productive. This release makes significant changes in how you access the data across your ecosystem of Windows 10 based devices. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Q. Is HomeGroup Really Leaving Windows 10? I can confirm that this is, in fact, happening. It’s been happening for a while: Microsoft notified testers during the Redstone 4 feature update development cycle when they released Build 17063 in December of last year. You must scroll almost all the way to the bottom of those very lengthy release notes to find the details about HomeGroup’s retirement under the Other notable changes section. I know many of you are still on Windows 7, which means you may also be using the HomeGroup features on your home network. (In fact, HomeGroup was introduced as part of Windows 7 when it was released to general availability in October 2009.) In those ensuing eight and a half years, technology has come along that really eliminates the need for HomeGroup as it was originally devised. When parallel services can adequately replace the feature in Windows 10, then it makes sense for the Redmond company to stop supporting that part of the code base. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
These tips and tricks can help you more easily handle a huuuuuge spreadsheet. You’ve created an Excel spreadsheet that stretches beyond what you can see on the screen, maybe one that encompasses hundreds of rows or columns. And now working with and navigating that spreadsheet has become slow and clumsy. Do you need to pare down your spreadsheet? Nope, don’t change it. Instead, you can tap into various tools and features in Excel to use and move around your big spreadsheet. Here’s what you can do: Certain keyboard shortcuts can hop around your spreadsheet in the blink of an eye. You can also name cells or ranges of cells to move to them by name. You can filter the data in a row to see only certain content. You can freeze specific rows and columns, such as header rows, so they’re always visible. And you can split your spreadsheet to see more than one area. Let’s check out the different ways to work with large Excel spreadsheets. I’m using Excel 2016 for the examples here, but you should be able to apply the same tricks in the past couple of versions of the program. To start, load Excel and create … Read More
Last year during Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, I sat in on a presentation about a new collaborative tool for the Windows 10 desktop called Microsoft Whiteboard. Microsoft already had a collaboration tool for its Surface Hub line of devices; the idea behind this new app was to bring that level of group creativity from the conference room to the desktops, laptops, and tablets running Windows 10. In December of last year, the Microsoft Whiteboard App preview was released in the Microsoft Store. Since then it has been updated multiple times and continues to become more robust through bug fixes, performance enhancements, and feature additions. The app is reliable enough after five months of availability for daily use. So why not try it? Get started by downloading it from the Microsoft Store and then opening the app for the first time so it can be associated with your Microsoft Account. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
My first version of Microsoft’s fledgling operating system was Windows 3.0. I had spent the previous years learning BASIC banging on the keyboard of my Commodore 64. This past week I got to go back in time: The original File Explorer program that was part of Windows in the 90’s was open sourced by Microsoft under the MIT Open Source Software license. Note: The MIT OSS license retains all original copyright and license notices but allows the code for commercial and private use, modification, and distribution. The WinFile source code is being hosted on GitHub and anyone can contribute and make pull requests. You can download the latest stable release, which runs as an x86/x64 desktop app. When I heard about this being available, I went to GitHub and downloaded the latest stable release, marked as version 10.0, and extracted it into a directory on a Windows 10 desktop PC. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
In this second in a series of articles I continue my in-depth examination of some of the features in Windows 10. Part one of this series appears in the March 27 issue. In a complex operating system like Windows 10, there are obviously features Microsoft got right and then some that still need tweaking. Now that we have lived with the various versions and updates of Microsoft’s OS, isn’t it time we conduct a sort of postmortem of all that Windows comprises? In this second installment of my feeature-by-feature overview, I examine what’s good and bad (or just plain ugly) about the Microsoft Store, the Command Prompt, and that mandatory, take-it-or-leave-it, Microsoft account for Windows 10. As in the previous installment, these assessments will be based on both my experience with the OS since its first release, plus composite of opinions from other users. The Microsoft Store When Microsoft first started their app store media pundits and consumers weighing in online were not too kind, rightfully calling it a “too little, too late” copycat of Apple’s tremendously successful App Store. In its first years the Microsoft Store displayed a puny selection of familiar games and productivity apps and seemed to be just begging to … Read More
With the right tools, you don’t need to open a file or its application to view it. You may work with a lot of different files in Windows — Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, OneNote notebooks, PDF files, graphic files, video files, audio files, and more. Sometimes you need to check out one file after another. That can be time-consuming since it means you need to launch each file’s native application to view it. Well, not necessarily. There are ways you can view a file without having to launch its application. Here are the five options we’ll be looking at: Windows itself offers a preview pane in File Explorer through which you can view a variety of file types. A free program called File Viewer Lite can display more than 150 different file types. If you need even more options and don’t mind spending some money, File Viewer Plus can display more than 300 different file types at a cost of $39.95. Free File Viewer is a simple and free program that can display more than 200 file types. Quick View Plus is a robust file viewer, one that can display more than 300 file types. The only downside … Read More