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  • Date Issue Summaries
  • 2018-11-13 Check Out These Handy Apps from the Microsoft Store for Windows 10
    • How to View and Control Your Private Online Data

      Here’s how to take charge of the information collected about you by technology companies. Like many people, you probably have online accounts with Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, and companies. We all know that these businesses monitor and store certain data about our online activities. But exactly what information do they have? And how can you review, modify, and remove it? The process differs for each company, but the goal is the same. You want to be able to see what data is stored about you, clear any data you don’t want the companies to have, and restrict the type of data they can collect about you going forward. This can be a time-consuming task as the companies don’t make the process quick and simple. But you should still make an effort to review the information being collected about you. Let’s check out the steps for four of the top tech players. Microsoft Using a Microsoft Account is handy as it gives you one set of credentials for Windows, Office, Skype, and other Microsoft apps and services. But that also means Microsoft collects a lot of information about you. To review and modify all this data collection, sign into your Microsoft … Read More »

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  • 2018-11-08 Top Tips and Tools for Cutting, Copying, and Pasting
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  • 2018-11-06 Three Built-In Options to Back Up Your Data on Windows 10
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  • 2018-11-01 Ask @WinObs: What Are the Most Useful Windows 10 Apps in the Microsoft Store?
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  • 2018-10-30 Windows 7 — Still Popular But It Might Be Time to Switch
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  • 2018-10-25 Special Edition: Get the Most Out of Outlook
    • Special Edition: Get the Most Out of Outlook

      Perhaps it’s because we’re in the last quarter of the year and we still haven’t gotten to Inbox Zero. Perhaps a pop-up reminded us that 2018 was going to be the year we mastered a lot of productivity tips and tricks and we only have nine weeks left to 2019. Whatever the reason, now seems like a fine time to dive into a series of how-tos that will leave you a stronger Outlook user than you started. You’ll learn: Which of the many tools in Outlook can help you get a handle on synching calendars to Google calendar, finding lost emails and fixing settings on the fly. How to spruce up your emails with different themes or stationary. How to categorize and flag certain emails so they remain on your radar. How to handle an incoming message based on certain criteria, such as the sender, recipient, or subject line. And finally, how to automate the organization of your inbox. We can still make 2018 the year we conquer email.

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  • 2018-10-23 Special Edition: How to Get the Most Out of OneDrive
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  • 2018-10-18 Best Practices for Getting the Most Out of Microsoft Office 365
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  • 2018-10-16 Encrypt Your Precious Data with Hardware and Software
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  • 2018-10-11 Ask @WinObs: What’s the Status of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update?
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  • 2018-10-09 Nine Good PC Habits You Should Have
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  • 2018-10-04 Ask @WinObs: What’s Up With Windows Software Updates and New Surface Devices
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  • 2018-10-02 Windows OS Is Still the Most Lucrative Target for Hackers. Why?
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  • 2018-09-27 How OneDrive’s Feature Additions Reflect Microsoft’s New Approach
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  • 2018-09-25 Brace Yourself — These Features Are Leaving Windows 10
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  • 2018-09-20 How to Keep Microsoft Edge from Always Popping Up
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  • 2018-09-18 How Zapier Can Automate Your Inbox and Save You Time
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  • 2018-09-13 Patch Tuesday: Exploits Likely on Vulnerabilities This Month
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  • 2018-09-11 Five Time-Saving Windows 10 Productivity Tweaks
    • Five Time-Saving Windows 10 Productivity Tweaks

      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 »

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  • 2018-08-28 Special Edition: Google & Microsoft, Playing Nicely Together
    • Special Edition: Google & Microsoft, Playing Nicely Together

      The reality of personal computing in 2018 — and likely beyond — is that nobody exists in a silo’d tech ecosystem. We’re all switching between different cloud services, operating systems and software packages; what these companies want from us (our total engagement) is not a priority for users. What is a priority is being able to do what you want on your mobile and desktop devices. While Microsoft’s still a great one-stop shop if you want a set of office-work apps on an operating system, Google’s apps have made tremendous inroads. It helps that they’re tied into some really compelling tools (like a search engine …) and based in the cloud, not on a desktop. So how do you get the best of both worlds? We’ve examined this question periodically and in today’s special issue, pulled together some of our answers. How to Sync Your Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendars How to Work with Microsoft Word and Google Docs To-Do, Google Tasks, Wunderlist, and Todoist: Which One Works for You? Here’s to cross-platform productivity.

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  • 2018-08-21 How to Use IFTTT to Automate Your Life, Hour By Hour
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  • 2018-08-16 How To Easily Find Your Operating System, Application, and Browser Versions
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  • 2018-08-14 Best Practices for Updating Windows 10
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  • 2018-08-02 Use Task View and Timeline in Windows 10 April 2018 Update
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  • 2018-07-31 All About the Microsoft Store App in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update
    • Ask @WinObs – What is 19H1 And Why Should I Know About It?

      Here’s why you’ll be seeing 19H1 mentioned a lot: Microsoft confirmed that 19H1 is a new code name for the seventh feature update for Windows 10. Microsoft is a big fan of code names and they have been using them for years on various software/hardware projects. A code name helps, well at least sometimes it does, to keep the identity of a new product under wraps while it is being worked on internally at the Redmond company. You might even remember some of them from over the years: Windows 3.1: Janus Windows 95: Chicago Windows 98: Memphis Windows ME: Millennium Windows 10 RTM and November Update: Threshold (TH1 & TH2) Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Creators Update, Fall Creators Update and April 2018 Update: Redstone (RS1, RS2, RS3, & RS4) Of course, the sixth update as already mentioned will be Redstone 5 (RS5). It is the final update to use the Redstone code name. The new code name, 19H1, breaks down into two elements. The 19 represents the year of the update’s release – in this case, 2019. The H1 indicates the update was released in the first half of that year. Although that makes for a possible 6-month window the update … Read More »

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  • 2018-07-24 To-Do, Google Tasks, Wunderlist, and Todoist: Which One Works for You?
    • To-Do, Google Tasks, Wunderlist, and Todoist: Which One Works for You?

      Looking for a good app or service to manage the items on your to-do list? You need an easy way to keep track of all the tasks you have to accomplish. And you want to be able to do this from your PC and your mobile device. Microsoft To-Do is a skilled app for managing your to-do items. But it’s not the only game in town. You can try such programs as Google Tasks, Wunderlist, and Todoist. How do these free programs work and what features do they offer? Let’s check it out. I wrote about Microsoft To-Do in this article “Keep Track of Your Tasks with the Microsoft To-Do App.” But I’ll start with a brief overview of this app before moving onto other programs. Microsoft To-Do Microsoft’s To-Do service is simple but effective. For each task, you can set a due date, reminder, and detailed notes. You can sort and view your items by name, due date, creation date, or status. You can create and manage multiple lists for different types of tasks. And you can access the service as a Windows 10 app, an iOS app, an Android app, and a website. Since you use your Microsoft … Read More »

    • All About Accessibility in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update

      With the steady flow of feature updates about every six months now, operating system changes are measured in increments versus leaps. That is why we’re running through a series of articles and highlight the specific changes that are part of each feature update. This week we are looking at accessibility updates in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. (Editor’s note: Prior updates have covered Cortana,  Continue on PC, Storage Sense and Focus Assist.) The first thing that has been done for accessibility in this update is a consolidation of most of the Accessibility options under the Ease of Access area of Windows Settings. Users no longer have to hunt across different menus. Ease of Access Settings in Windows Settings – April 2018 Update Beyond centralizing many of the accessibility options here, you will also notice that the various features have been organized in related areas such as Vision, Hearing and Interaction. You can now go directly into the subset of settings in each of those categories to quickly find the feature you are looking to configure/setup. Hardware Keyboard Suggestions/Auto-Correct Settings – April 2018 Update The on-screen keyboard for Windows 10 has had text prediction for a while however, that capability has never been available for your physical … Read More »

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  • 2018-07-19 Ask @WinObs: Are OneDrive Files Encrypted?
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  • 2018-07-17 Master These Windows 10 Starter Apps As If They Are Your Only Apps
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  • 2018-07-12 A First Look at the New Microsoft Surface Go
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  • 2018-07-10 Undo the Process of Syncing IE Favorites Via OneDrive
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  • 2018-06-28 Ask @WinObs: How Do I Use OneDrive to Protect Important Folders?
    • Keep Track of Your Tasks with the Microsoft To-Do App

      You can manage your to-do lists from Windows, the Web, and your mobile device. You need a way to create, track, and juggle all the tasks in your life – personal, professional, and otherwise. You’ll find a variety of to-do applications worth checking out. But one program that can get the job done is Microsoft To-Do. Here’s a quick run-down of what you can do with it: Create separate lists for different types of tasks and even apply a unique visual theme to each list. Add a due date, reminder, and note for each task. Sort your to-do tasks by name, due date, creation date, or status. Microsoft To-Do is available as a Windows 10 app, an iOS app, an Android app, and a website, so you can access it from virtually anywhere. For this article, I’m using the Windows 10 app. Let’s get started. Open the page for Microsoft To-Do in the Windows Store to install and launch the program. Once that’s done, open the program. If prompted, sign in with your Microsoft Account. Click on the category for To-Do and click on the link to Add a to-do. Write your to-do item. Then click on the Add button. … Read More »

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  • 2018-06-26 All About Focus Assist in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update
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  • 2018-06-21 Organize Your Files More Efficiently
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  • 2018-06-19 The Fiber-to-the-Home Gigabit Experience
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  • 2018-06-14 Ask @WinObs: How Do I Manage Device Limits?
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  • 2018-06-12 Syncing Internet Explorer Favorites on Windows 10
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  • 2018-05-24 Special Edition: Excel Week, Continued
  • 2018-05-22 Special Edition: Welcome to Excel Week
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  • 2018-05-17 How Big Tech Is Accommodating More Users
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  • 2018-05-15 Improve Your Productivity With Automation
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  • 2018-05-10 Ask @WinObs: Are Any Other Features Being Removed From the Windows 10 April 2018 Update?
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  • 2018-05-08 How to get the Windows 10 April 2018 Update
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  • 2018-05-03 Windows 10 Redstone 4 Feature Update Review, Part Two
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  • 2018-05-01 Windows 10 Redstone 4 Feature Update Review, Part One
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  • 2018-04-26 Ask @WinObs: Is HomeGroup Really Leaving Windows 10?
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  • 2018-04-24 Hands On: Microsoft Whiteboard App
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  • 2018-04-19 Ask @WinObs: What’s Happening with the OneNote Desktop Version?
    • Ask @WinObs: What’s Happening with the OneNote Desktop Version?

      Q. I heard that Microsoft is going to discontinue the desktop version of OneNote! Is this true? If so, what will take its place? You did hear correctly. This announcement was made within the last 24 hours by OneNote Program Manager William Devereux. He confirmed that active development of new features and capabilities is ending for OneNote 2016. This was the last version of OneNote built for the standard Windows desktop.  It is compatible with the currently supported versions of Windows (7, 8.1, and 10.)  Later this year, when Office 2019 is released as the last stand alone version of Office, there will not be a desktop version of OneNote included. However, there are still options for those of you who are fans of OneNote 2016 on the desktop. According to an FAQ posted by the OneNote team, this announcement does not mean the end of OneNote 2016 is imminent. OneNote 2016 will be under mainstream support until October 13, 2020, and extended support until October 14, 2025. You’ve got a little over seven years left with this product as-is. Installing Office 2019 when it is released later this year will not remove OneNote 2016 from your system. OneNote for … Read More »

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  • 2018-04-17 How Inbox by Gmail Saves Time and Increases Productivity
    • How Inbox by Gmail Saves Time and Increases Productivity

      Trying to get to inbox zero? Switching from conventional Gmail to Inbox can help you get there, thanks to features like bundling, snooze, and templates. Inbox by Gmail first appeared in 2014, when the vamped-up web-based email client was still invite only. But there are still people who haven’t switched over, and may not even be fully aware that they can. Those people are missing out. Inbox by Gmail takes what you already enjoy about Gmail — message sorting, filters, great archive search — and makes it even more useful. Its ethos and functionalities will feel familiar to fans of the Getting Things Done productivity approach, as Inbox works to make every email actionable, even if that action is merely to archive a message. This helps you clear things out of your inbox and focus in specifically on what you need to do with your email, when you need to do it. “It’s not an exaggeration to say Inbox literally transformed the way I use email,” said Vinay Pai, the founder of Unfake.us. “I used to be pretty dedicated to desktop-based clients like Thunderbird, Outlook, and Eudora but Inbox made me decide to switch my whole email workflow around it.” It might … Read More »

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  • 2018-03-29 Special Edition: Get the Most Out of Microsoft Word
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  • 2018-03-27 Windows 10 Features: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
    • Ask @WinObs: Can I Postpone Receiving the Next Feature Update for Windows 10?

      Q. Can I postpone receiving the next feature update for Windows 10? Microsoft has been developing the fifth feature update for Windows 10 since late last year, and that work is now in the final stages as they stabilize the update and prepare for its general availability next month. When Windows 10 first came out almost three years ago, there were no official options for consumers to delay the installation of a new feature update. Once it arrived on Windows Update for your device there was no turning back from that upgrade cycle. However, if you are running Windows 10 Professional, settings have been built into the OS that will give you a couple of options for delaying the upgrade to the latest feature update. Note: This option is not available as part of Windows 10 Home. If you go into Windows Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and then click on Advanced Options under Update settings. This is where you have two options for postponing updates to Windows 10. Let’s take a closer look at what is at your disposal for delaying a feature update upgrade. First, let’s begin by looking at the last option on the page … Read More »

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  • 2018-03-22 Organize Photos With the Tool Windows Gave You
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  • 2018-03-20 Ask @WinObs: What is Dynamic Lock Used for on Windows 10?
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  • 2018-03-15 Use Themes to Enhance Your Microsoft Word Documents
    • How to Remove the HomeGroup Icon from File Explorer in Windows 10

      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 »

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  • 2018-03-13 Hidden Gems in Windows 10
    • How to Work with Microsoft Office on an iPad with iOS 11

      The latest version of Apple’s mobile OS offers some benefits for Office users who own an iPad. Apple’s iOS 11 brings several enhancements to the iPad. And those of you who use Microsoft Office on certain model iPads can take advantage of them. iOS 9 introduced a couple of features that can display two apps on the screen at the same time. So for example, you can see both Word and Excel together side by side. Now, with iOS 11, you can drag and drop text, hyperlinks, and images from one app to another. Further, Office users who use OneDrive for backing up and syncing their documents can rev up Apple’s new Files app. The Files app helps you connect to and access files stored on OneDrive as well as other online storage sites. Let’s check it all out. For this article, I’ll assume you run Microsoft Office on your iPad. In my article on How to Choose and Use the Mobile Version of Microsoft Office, I explain how Office Mobile operates on a phone or tablet, and under what conditions you can use the suite for free. Update to iOS 11 First, make sure you’ve updated your iPad to iOS … Read More »

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  • 2018-03-08 How to Use Multiple Worksheets in a Microsoft Excel Workbook
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  • 2018-03-06 Five Easy Pieces: Windows Utilities I Couldn’t Live Without
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  • 2018-02-08 How to Protect Your Microsoft Word Documents
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  • 2018-02-06 How a Voice Assistant Can Make You More Productive
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  • 2018-02-01 Ask @WinObs: How Can I Connect My Android Phone With Windows 10?
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  • 2018-01-30 How to Format Your Tables in Microsoft Word
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  • 2018-01-25 Ask @WinObs – Is There a Built-In Backup Option for Windows 10?
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  • 2018-01-23 Patch Watch: Still Tracking Issues With Spectre/Meltdown
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  • 2018-01-18 Ask @WinObs: I Hear Voice Assistants Everywhere
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  • 2018-01-16 How to Work With Formulas in Microsoft Excel
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  • 2018-01-11 Patch Watch: Tracking Issues with the Spectre Patches on AMD Machines
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  • 2018-01-09 Are You Guilty of Using the 25 Worst Passwords of 2017?
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  • 2018-01-04 How to Protect Against the Meltdown and Spectre Vulnerabilities
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