TechTips are dedicated to making your life easier through greater efficiencies and leveraging the power of your technology.
The point here is efficiency: get it done and move on to the next. Hope you find it useful!
♦ “Select Search” to quickly add a contact name to an SMS, Email or other Read more
Ever wasted time mistyping a name or struggling to find the right name from a list of your contacts?
I have 18 “Chris”‘s in my contact list. So when I go looking for a particular Chris, I can either type out the full name, as in for my son, “Christopher Bromley” or just manually browse my C’s until I find the right Chris.
Instead, use the power of the selective search! Here’s how:
Typing and mistyping “C-h-r-I-s-t-r-o-p-h-e-r- B-r-o-m-l-e-y” is a waste of time.
Instead, I type “C-h B-r-o” and my Outlook or my phone immediately offers me the only Chris in my contacts who has those letters in his name: voila, I immediately find “Christopher Bromley”! I can now spend more time typing my message than trying to find the right contact!
♦ More email cleanup! Blocking all emails with an online mail server Read more
In my Sept. 21 entry, I wrote about how to create “rules” to block all but desired emails. The problem with “rules” is that they can become very complicated.
But if you really want to go “nuclear” on spam, here’s what you do:
1. Filter all emails and send them to “trash” . In my Verizon webmail, I added a wildcard filter that sends all mail to the trash bin:
“If From contains *@* then automatically move to folder: Trash”
the *@* indicates any email. So all email now goes to trash.
2. Next “whitelist” only emails and domains you want to receive from, using either the filter or “allow” section of your email settings.
Here you have to add email addresses and domains manually. Depending on your system you can use a wildcard, such as *@domain.com (whatever domain), especially for senders who use different email names from the same domain (such as Amazon, which has orders@, store@, shipping@, etc.).
Good luck fighting the spammers!
♦ Email cleanup! And how to block all emails except ones you want (blacklist all, whitelist some) Read more
Using a powerful email client (interface/organizer) like Outlook, you can create “rules” to manage what happens to incoming emails. For example, if you receive daily updates from a news service, you can set the rule:
If sender = news@dailynews then move to folder: “daily news”
This way those emails will automatically be sent to that folder. Online “email” portals, such as gmail, outlook.com, webmail.Verizon.com, etc. also allow for simple rules or “filters” to run these task for you.
But I couldn’t get my online portal to block all except emails that I want. That was easy in Outlook.
I just discovered, however, that you can use “wildcards” to manage emails on some of these webmail portals. My problem was that my longtime personal Verizon.net email account was getting tons of spam, so I wanted to block all mails except certain ones on the server. I had already setup Outlook to do that for me, but it still left tons of emails on Verizon’s servers (and that showed up on my phone, for example).
I finally figured out that I can block ALL emails with a wildcard filter:
Add that to the block or blacklist and no emails can get through. Now, to get only the emails I want, I had to go through my inbox and find senders I trust, and add them to the “safe” or whitelist. Voila, everything else just disappears. Yea!
♦ Use your cloud storage as a website! Read more
With OneDrive, Google Docs, Dropbox, etc. becoming common, people think of these services as mere file storage, and, perhaps, even to use them for some document collaboration.
- I use OneDrive from Microsoft. I store all my working files and photos there (but not my music* or videos*) so that I can access and edit them easily from any of my devices, be it phone, table, laptop, desktop or a borrowed computer somewhere. No more flash drives and no more duplicate files!
- At School4Schools.com, we collaborate on documents and share all our files in the Cloud (we use SharePoint). It’s secure and convenient.
- Every day I’m finding new, convenient uses for this online storage, especially for my personal documents, including:
- Photo sharing: I create folders to organize my files, by year and subject (example: 2014/dog meetup).
- Now that I have specific images grouped meaningfully, I can easily share the folder with people as if it were an online gallery.
- Using OneDrive, I just select the folder with images I want to share, click “Share” and either add an email for ongoing sharing or “create a link” that I can then send by text or email.
- Sharing is easily turned on and off.
- The key to it is good organization: don’t share everything: be specific and careful, and you’ll find it super easy and fun.
- Music & videos:
- With 100+ gigabytes of music and another 100+ gig videos, Cloud storage can get expensive.
- My solution is to use the powering device-syncing tools built into Windows 8: whatever device I’m logged into has access to the same music/video library as my primary computer.
- This way I don’t have to download or store remotely. Just log in and access it.
- Warning for mobile users: data charges apply!
- Shared folder as a webpage:
- you can create a page in Word or whatever program that has all the info you want to share, plus links to other shared files or folders.
- Just create a link to a shared document and anyone you want to show it to can now access your the information that you control.
- You can set user rights (edit, view, download, etc.) to protect your files.
♦ Touch screens Read more
I use a Surface RT from Microsoft that has a 10-inch screen, detachable, magnetic, clickable keyboard, and touchscreen. This little machine integrates with all my files and has full access to core MS Office programs and all web-based resources.
Above all, the touch screen renders the mouse superfluous. I keep it handy in case it has its uses, but that’s a rare event.
I-pad users will have their own preferences and views on this. I use them now and then (my wife owns two), but I’m not sold on them, especially the Safari browser, which seems outdated. Here are my notes on the Surface RT that I use (these may or may not apply to Ipad experiences):
- Spell check: unlike a mouse-based computer that requires double-click to highlight flagged misspellings in emails and other documents, the touch screen make it a matter of touch, press, and select the correct spelling. I find it super easier to compose emails using the touch screen. I also find myself vainly touching the screen of my non-touch computers.
- Internet browsing is so much easier wit left/right swipes and tabbed browsing with swipe down / select tab. Links are simple to select and punch or press & hold for options. It just works great.
- On-screen keyboard: I rarely use it. The Surface has an attachable keyboard (get the click style keyboard, not the “touch”), and it’s just so much easier to use than on-screen.
- Office Programs notes:
- Excel: with spreadsheets I’m back to the Mouse. Perhaps future versions of Excel will be touch friendly.
- OneNote: the touch-version is fantastic, simple, and intuitive.
- Word: touch-preferences optimize touch, but Word is still built for the mouse/ keyboard combo.
♦ The Cloud Read more
I’ve been moving from West to East coast, and all the way, my phone and my tablet kept me productive, with access to all my files (except accounting files which remain secure on a single local machine).
It’s amazing that all my email and all my working files are accessible wherever I am, be it Las Vegas, Amarillo, or Knoxville.
The “cloud” is real and very cool.
♦ How to manage a “to do” list and stay on top of your work Read more
Keeping track of your tasks is hugely important. We keep in our minds the things that are immediate and important, but then the next thing comes along and before long the older stuff turns into “Oh yeah, I forgot about that!”
Here are some of my solutions that you might want to try out:
- Daily “to do” list – notepad quick reminder list
- every day when I log on to my computer, I open up a simple text file (Notepad on Windows works great)
- I write at the top “today to do.”
- then I add what’s on my mind, keeping the file open all day
- I add or delete as I get through my tasks, reviewing it constantly
- important things I copy to my OneNote “to do” file (see next item) or add it to my Outlook tasks and/or calendar.
- OneNote task lists
- I’ve gone into the organizational power of OneNote before (see below), but here’s an easy way to use it, both on your computer or tablet / phone:
- Outlook. It’s the very best productivity manager out there. It can be complex, however, and it requires — like any tool — steady, constant use. Email me if you’re interested in learning about how to use Outlook
- Outlook is part of the Office Pro suite or Office 365. Yes, it costs. But..
- Outlook.com is starting to make powerful Outlook feature available for free, so check it out.
- HomeworkTracker for students
- The A+ Club provides our students with a powerful “task” system. It’s an online agenda book that keeps kids on task, on calendar, and getting their work done!
- Learn more here: What is the HomeworkTracker?
♦ Screenshots: capturing a moment Read more
If you have read through the TechTips then you will notice how I use “screenshots” to capture an image of what’s on my computer. Screenshots are great for keeping something that will go away when you do something else and recording and storing information.
- “Snipping Tool” – to select all or parts of your screen (Windows)
- I keep a shortcut link to it on my taskbar at the bottom of my screen
- The screen clipping can be annotated and saved as a file
- Full screen capture: use PrtScn for “Print Screen” button which is at the top of your keyboard (Windows).
- This function will It will store a screenshot of your entire monitor in the “copy/paste” memory that you then paste into a file or an image program like Paint to save as a file.
- In Mac use “Command + Shift + 3” for full screen and Command + Shift + 4 for select size.
- Cell phones: kids use this all the time to save or share page views, text messages, etc. They should be doing the same thing on their computers.
♦ How to unsubscribe from an unwanted email Read more
- Honest email marketers do not send you anything that you have not agreed to recieve
- That said, you’re agreement may not have been fully your agreement but because you clicked on something else you wanted and got the emails along with it.
- Honest marketers use what’s know as “unsubscribe”
- Unsubscribe remove you from an email list and marks you as having opted out.
- It is standard and you can trust “unsubscribe” links — so long as you can believe in that website’s integrity.
- Be sure to “mouse hover” over the “unsubscribe” link (or any link) before you click.
- The link will show on the lower left corner of your browser and you will see the URL of the link.
- Look at the words prior to the “.com” to see if the site is legitimate.
- Test the base domain (the “xxxx.com”) in your browser to see if the site is legitimate, then click on the unsubscribe to remove your email from their list.
- Hopefully marketers are honest. It’s up to you to keep them honest.
♦ How to paste text without formatting Read more
- When cut/pasting into a document (any time), the simple “paste” (Windows: Control + V; Mac: Command + V) will usually paste the characters as well as the formatting from the source.
- If it’s from a website it can get very messy, as there are many hidden format codes that get picked up by the Select and Copy functions.
- Some solutions for MS Office environment:
- Notepad: Paste your text into a simple text editor, like “Notepad” in Windows that does not use formatting. Then re-copy it and paste it into your document. Voila!
- Right Click: place your cursor where you want the text to go and right click your mouse. Look under “Paste Options” for three icons, which are: “Keep source formatting,” “Merge Formatting” and “Keep Text Only.” Select the “Keep text only” (to the right) to paste without formatting.
- Control + V : after you paste your text into your document, you will see a little Icon labeled “(Ctrl)”. Click on it for the “Paste Options” menu, which will allow you to select from the three Paste methods to keep source, merge or text only pasting.
- Note that this menu allows you to go to the Office Options section where you can set the default pasting rules under the “Cut, copy, and paste” section.
- I hope this makes your life just a little bit easier!
♦ Bloatware Warning: Adobe & Google are at it again! Read more
- The latest Adobe Flash update reminds me of Bundle This: Bloatware & other computer pests and other tricks to sucker users into loading unwanted programs.
- Adobe updater installs Google Chrome & Toolbar unless you tell it NOT to. That’s backwards, deceitful, and typical of not just those companies, but of the industry unfortunately.
- So you know, here’s how they do it:
- Just be sure to “unclick” everything before you hit “Run” or Install”
- Otherwise, it’s theirs and not your computer.
♦ Windows 8 : Desktop or App ? Read more
- If you have a touch screen, the IE apps are great.
- For mouse/keyboard users, you may not like it so much, at least until the next updates from MS on Win 8.1
- However, a cool thing about bouncing between the Apps and Desktop mode is that each one can manage separate logins and other interfaces or activities:
- For example, you can login to different Facebook accounts on each and keep them active at the same time (or Skype or other programs)
- With Internet Explorer, it’s much as if you were using Private Browsing, but easier in that you can stay logged in.
- The Win 8 environment may be confusing to some, but there are interesting advantages to the dual-versions of Apps and Desktop.
- Don’t be afraid to try them out to see what works best for you — and take advantage of the benefits of each.
♦ What to do about the Windows XP phase-out? Read more
If you still use XP, and God bless ya, please know that Microsoft has finally given up supporting this rugged, clunky old workhorse. XP powered the world for a good long time, but now it’s on the way out. Here’s what’s happening:
- The “phase-out” simply means that Microsoft will halt releasing security and other updates.
- Does this mean that your XP program will be vulnerable? YES, it does.
- But don’t panic.
- Keep your anti-virus systems running!
- Review and budget your options, which are
- Other options
- Windows 7:
- You can’t buy it directly from Microsoft
- You can buy it from vendors such as NewEgg
- You can buy it on new computers from major makers such as Dell, Lenovo and HP
- You can buy it on a used computer: make sure you have a good warranty and a valid Windows license.
- Win 7 will be supported by Microsoft until 2020
- Windows 8
- If you want a touch-screen computer, this is your best option
- You may wish to wait until the April/May update which returns the “Start menu” to the way you will be used to seeing it on XP
- Win 8 is quite good, very light-weight, and brilliant with touch devices
- Other operating systems
- Mac OS: costs more, people like it, but we don’t recommend it due to its touch and usability / customibility limitations
- Chrome: we don’t recommended it because of its limited functionality and reliance on web-based connectivity.
- Linux: works great, but you have to know what you are doing. We don’t recommend it
- Windows 7:
- Sources & Info:
♦ How to use OneNote: a powerful productivity and organizational tool Read more
Been busy over the last month, so glad to be back to our TechTip updates. This week we want to discuss the amazing productivity tool, OneNote.
- OneNote is a Microsoft product that’s available in all MS Office installations, student through enterprise.
- OneNote is a productivity and organizational too.
- Think of OneNote as a book. Each One Note book is divided into:
- Notebooks (each is like a different book)
- Sections (your book chapters)
- Best of all, it automatically indexes for you!
- OneNote has an easy and powerful search function. You can find things in seconds that you’d be forever looking through papers on your desk or files on your computer.
- We use it for:
- to do lists & calendars
- links and direct copies of documents, spreadsheets, emails, images., etc.
- it integrates with Outlook for reminders and tasks
- meeting & conversation notes
- on the fly notes: OneNote is my sticky-pad, I use it on my phone, on my tablet, desktop… it all syncs together.
- Students should use OneNote:
- each class = a different Notebook
- each unit or topic = a different Section
- pages can hold class notes, drafts, research, links, to do lists
You probably already own it, so give it a try. You will be amazed. /wpex]
♦ Close tabs & windows shortcuts Read more
- Alt + F4 = close any open window, followed by Y for “yes” to confirm.
- Try this from your keyboard
- Browse between windows using Alt+Tab
- Then select the window you want to close (such as an inadvertent “Help” or other popup)
- Then click Alt+F4 and then hit Y for “yes”
- Cntrl + W = close browser tab
- Makes for easy browser tab management
- Open new tab with Cntrl + T
- Use keyboard shortcuts to make your mouse’s and your own life easier!
♦ How to browse between tabs Read more
- First of all, Happy Groundhog’s day!
- Okay, for this week’s tip, just a single so useful little keyboard shortcut
- Browse between tabs in your browser
- Control + Tab = browse tabs to the right
- Control + Shift + Tab = browse tabs to the left
- It’s such a useful shortcut that I though it important to post it again. I use it ALL the time, and it’s so much easier than reaching for you mouse, touchpad, or touch screen.
- Just use your left hand, thumb on Control, forefinger on Tab and bam!
♦ How to fix a broken cell phone screen Read more
- Ugh, oops, *&##%! … dropped the phone again, and you weren’t lucky this time.
- Worse, you dropped it into a puddle.
- Water damage can be fatal.
- Turn it off immediately
- Open it, remove the batter and memory card (if, like my Lumia 928, your phone does not open, you’re probably better protected from water, but not water proof)
- Soak it in rice: people swear it works. I’ve never tried it, but the logic is good, since rice readily absorbs moisture. Just be sure not to let rice get stuck inside the phone.
- Cracked screens
- A broken screen is not an excuse for a new phone! If you take on another 2-year contract, it costs you money either by extending your commitment or the up-front cost of a new phone. For around $100 you can fix the phone you already own.
- This Wall Street Journal article lists prices for San Francisco area screen replacement services. Prices go from $99 – $150
- The most expensive is the Apple Store
- The cheapest is a mail-in service, but that makes sense that it would be the least expensive, as they don’t have to pay for a store front.
- If your phone can still run: BACKUP your data before you take it in for repair.
♦ How to use RSS Feeds Read more
- RSS stands for “Rich Site Summary”
- RSS feeds are used to display the content of a website by listing the web pages or posts by title, author, publication date, and a short amount of text.
- You can display the RSS feed in your email system, on your own website, or with an RSS reader program on your computer or phone.
- Many phone apps that show news, videos, etc. are actually only RSS readers.
- RSS feeds are how we publish lists of posts, podcasts and other content on this website.
- Look for the RSS logo and copy the link into your RSS reader to start tracking and updating content on a site that you enjoy.
- RSS icon:
♦ How to use secure passwords and remember them Read more
- Whenever a major password hack is exposed or released showing passcodes, it’s amazing how many people use very simplistic passcodes, even “password” and “123456” (wow!). Hackers know this.
- There are many web-based password generators that can come up with unique, complex passcodes for you to use on your most sensitive logins. There are also “password managers” that remember logins and passwords for you. But most modern browsers do this securely, anyway.
- One strategy is to use two tiers of passcodes: simpler ones for less important logins, and complex unique ones for anything with personal or financial information such as credit cards.
- Whenever practical, use different passcodes for different sites
- If a hackers has any information on you, combinations of names, pets, birthdays, ID numbers, etc.,, will be attempted.
- personal information in a passcode, such as birthdays, names, pets, etc.
- dictionary words
- misspelling words helps, or adding symbols into them, but hackers can search for these combinations
- repetitive key strokes
- short passcodes
- use the shift key for symbols, caps, and numbers
- mix in the number pad keys for unique combinations
- make it long
- randomly use upper and lower case letters
- randomly use symbols
- Avoid password hints. Hackers use these. You can easily reset passwords via your email.
- Once you have a secure password, use brain-muscle memory to learn your passcodes. Practice your passcode and your fingers will remember it for you.
- Be sure your email address is entered correctly in your account on a website. You will need this to reset passwords.
- Above all, change your passcodes and even user names frequently, especially if you believe you or a site has been compromised.
- BE VERY CAREFUL ENTERING A PASSCODE ON A PUBLIC COMPUTER: hackers can record keystrokes to know your logins!
- See Mark Burnett’s xato.net blog, especially this post, 10,000 Top Passcodes for excellent information and advice about passcodes.
♦ How to use Browser keyboard shortcuts Read more
- Make your life easier and get things done quicker with a few easy shortcuts that will help you avoid the “mouse grab” when a click will do
- Most browsers emply the same shortcuts.
- Alt + D = put cursor in address bar
- Search: just type your keyword search into the address bar and hit Return
- Open frequently used website: start typing in the name of the website into the address bar and your browser will offer options from browser history
- use arrow down to select
- Tab = will move cursor between webpage buttons and submit boxes (Shift + Tab = reverse order)
- Cntrl + T = open new Tab
- Alt + Tab = browser right between tabs
- Alt + Shift + Tab = browse left between tabs
- Alt + F = open options from top menu
- Cntrl + + (plus) = zoom in
- Cntrl + – (minus) = zoom out
- Cntrl + 0 (zero) = reset zoom to 100%
- Note: Cntrl + Mouse up/down will change zoom as well
- Cntrol + H = history
- Don’t waste time with your Mouse or Touchpad!
- Alt + D = put cursor in address bar
♦ How to use Safe Mode in Windows 8Read more
- Windows 8 has been very stable for us, however, sometimes you still need to run in “safe mode” for virus checking or troubleshooting.
- Our only problems with Win 8 has been with older machines that have OEM (HP, Sony) bloatware (software installed by those manufacturers; see our post “Bundle This”) that gets in the way of the Win 8 system. On our machines with Win 8 installed out of the box we’ve had no issues
- Safe Mode in Win 7, Vista, & XP
- On reboot, just before the Windows program loads, hold “F8” key
- Note: if you want internet access in Safe Mode, select “Networking” option, otherwise it won’t load the needed drivers for a connection. If you have a bad virus problem, do not select networking, as some viruses will connect to the web and reinstall themselves remotely, even if your anti-virus is removing, or trying to remove, them.
- Safe Mode in Win 8
- Windows 8 doesn’t load “Safe Mode” the way Win 7/ XP did
- It offers a different set of tools, including Troubleshooting, “Restore Point,” “Refreshing your PC” (will keep files but not all programs) and Reinstalling Win 8 (will delete files and reinstall entire system
- To access Troubleshooting/ SafeMode” in Win 8
- swipe Charms bar (right side of monitor, swipe left) and select “Settings” and “Power
- holding the “shift” key, click on “Restart”
- computer will reboot in Safe Mode
- Microsoft page on Win 8 Safe Mode
♦ How to remove a Right-click popup stuck on screen (“ghost” menu option showing on Windows desktop) Read more
- if you’ve ever had trouble with the right click message not going away, such as per these screen shots (background featuring Puck & Stella):
- screen shots of QuickBooks right-click message stuck on screen
- most effective solution:
- reboot your computer
- the problem is likely caused by memory overload, so a reboot should resolve it
- other solutions without restart:
- sleep your computer, then restart (won’t reboot)
- right click desktop and select “refresh”
- right click desktop and select “Resolution” and change it to another resolution. Don’t forget your existing resolution so that you can reset it to the way it was before!
- if the problem is recurring, try disabling the “Fade Out” option
- go to Control Panel
- in the search bar (top right of Control Panel window), type “performance”
- select “System/ Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows”
- “Performance Options” box will popup
- default is “Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer”
- deselect “Fade out menu items after clicking”
- See here for Microsoft forum on this topic
♦ How to use an External Keyboard & Mouse w/ laptop Read more
- with laptop proliferation, users are abandoning the mouse and using the touchpad instead
- some people are very adept at the touchpad
- others fumble w/ the touchpad and small keyboard
- best solution: wireless or Bluetooth keyboard and mouse
- we use a small mouse that has a USB dongle that fits into the mouse, so it doesn’t get lost
- if you lose the USB dongle, you will not be able to use that mouse again! Warning: battery drain!
- we use a small mouse that has a USB dongle that fits into the mouse, so it doesn’t get lost
- wireless keyboard/mouse go through batteries regularly
- look for units with on/off switches, which helps save batteries, especially for mice, which have an optical laser that constantly scans for mouse position. If you are storing the mouse, in your laptop bag, the mouse will be scanning for its position constantly
- our preferences:
- wired keyboard to avoid battery issues
- wireless mouse for ease of use
- Note for Win 8 users!
- try a touch mouse that mimics touchscreen gestures directly on the mouse
- swipe left/right, one finger, two finger, etc. = different touchscreen gestures
- works great!
- this works better than on the touchpad
- try a touch mouse that mimics touchscreen gestures directly on the mouse
♦ How to unblock a website in Internet Explorer v. 11 (IE11) Read more
- IE11 is now available for Win 7 users
- already part of Win 8 as “app” for touch mode
- faster browser and safe
- problems with “safe filters” however: blocks website content and scripts
- Use the “address bar” icons to block / unblock website content as per:
- If your website is not loading fully, click on the Ø symbol to unblock filtered content
- ***WARNING: these filters are there for a reason! ** Be sure you trust the website! **
- Other settings:
- Under “Saftey” option select Active X filtering and Smartscreen for additional protection
- Firefox has excellent script blocking addons,
- I use IE 11 and Firefox depending on where I am browsing and what I want to do. See which browser works best in which mode, and use it accordingly.
- Above all: BE CAREFUL! I hate it, but idiots out there want to use or ruin your computer and worse, so be careful!
♦ How to use Dual Monitors Read more
- Double your work space and efficiencies with two monitors!
- Most operating systems allow for use of two monitors in the various modes of:
- duplicated desktop: showing the same thing on both monitors
- extended desktop: showing different things on two or more monitors
- Running three monitors takes extra graphics memory, and is not a usual setup
- Slideshow presentation:
- If you are projecting your screen to an audience it is very useful to have “extended desktop” mode so that you can show your audience one screen and work privately on another
- I used this mode daily as a teacher, so I could show lesson plans on the projector and run grades, attendance, etc. on my private monitor
- Two monitors just helps you get more done:
- Keep more windows open
- View more information simultaneously
- Multitasking empowered.
♦ How to speedup Windows via Startup and Uninstall Programs functions Read more
- Is your Windows XP, Vista and 7 machines slow?
- Same applies for Win 8 machines, but it’s less of a problem for them.
- Windows machines get clogged with programs that startup needlessly
- You do not need to run so many programs at startup. Deselect them from startup and then run them only when you need them.
- Startup control
- select Windows button (bottom left)
- type into the “Run” box: config.sys
- in the dialog popup box, select the tab “Startup”
- CAREFUL NOW….
- here you will have a list of all the programs that run when you computer starts
- deselect programs such as Adobe, Java, Office, Quicktime, iTunes that you may not need to have running whenever you start your computer
- ONLY DESELECT PROGRAMS THAT YOU KNOW WHAT THEY ARE
- if you deselect some programs you will lose core functionality
- Lookup on the web any program that you don’t know. You will find many results for these “services” with explanation of what they are and who publishes them.
- Whenever you install or update a program BE CAREFUL not to let it automatically startup if you don’t need it.
- uncheck optional programs it might ask you to install
- go to “settings” and deselect “launch at startup”
- Uninstall un-needed programs
- go to Control Panel and select Programs and Features then Uninstall Programs
- carefully select the programs that you don’t need
- A note about Anti-virus programs
- Do not run two programs simultaneously
- Remove every installation and startup incidence of an unwanted anti-virus program (they tend to have different programs for different functions)
- Restart your computer after each major uninstall
- See our post Bundle this! Bloatware, viruses and other computer pests for more on unwanted programs and viruses
♦ How to manage Browser Passwords Read more
- Browsers store website logins and passwords, which is great. Here are a few tips on managing them.
- When you type a login password for the first time, your browser will usually ask if you want to store that password.
- Select: Yes, No, or Never (for this website) or click on the X to cancel the function
- If on a public computer, take care not to store your password!! Sounds simple, but it’s easy to do it. I don’t understand why IT managers at libraries and schools don’t disable password storage, but many do not, so it’s up to the user to be careful about it.
- To change a password, simply type the new password and hit enter. The browser will update it for you.
- To delete a password, type the user name and when the stored username shows up, highlight it and click “delete.” Now it’s gone.
- To view passwords, you need to find the option that shows all the stored passwords. The new Windows 8 IE11 app browser has an easy way to manage passwords: swipe from right, select “settings” the “options” and find “passwords” on the bar. Super easy.
- Older Internet Explorer browsers require viewing the User settings in Control Panel per these instructions.
- Sorry, I don’t know Chrome and Mozilla
- Windows 8 will shares your logins/passcodes across your devices, which is awesome.
- You should keep an offline or protected list of your passcodes.
♦ How to manage your screen with Browsing Windows & Snap (Windows 7 / 8) Read more
- Browse screens:
- Win 7:
- Alt + Tab, or Win + Tab (“Win” = Windows button)
- Win 8:
- Alt + Tab or Swipe left edge and select windows
- Win + Tab = browse between Apps
- Win 7:
- Win + Arrow Right / Left snap window to half the screen (left or right side)
- Drag Window by mouse to upper left / right corner and release
- Minimize, Maximize and in the middle
- Win + Arrow Up/Down/Left/Right to move window around screen
- Minimize/ Maximize all windows; Win + D
♦ How to use Control + D for getting into the web address bar Read more
- Control + D puts your cursor into the “web address” bar of your browser
- The web address bar of your browser shows your “URL” or web location (http://www…)
- If you start typing in your address bar, your browser can be set to show suggested sites based upon your history, your bookmarks & favorites, and according to the default search engine results.
- This makes for a quick and easy way to get into a website that you already know
- To delete a suggested website that appears in your address bar, highlight that suggestion (or arrow down to highlight it) and click on “delete.” It will now be removed from its source (be careful if you don’t want to delete a bookmark)
- Try it a few times and you will see how easy it is — all without reaching for your mouse.
♦ Understanding Cookies Read more
- “Cookies” are text files that websites create to identify your computer
- Web users should be aware of cookies and their purposes
- Cookies do the following:
- allow websites to recognize your computer when you visit to maintain previous settings, user names, and logins
- allow websites to track visitors for statistical and marketing purposes, including:
- tracking visitor web behavior and preferences
- often sold to web marketers who use them to track user behavior across different websites
- some websites sell cookies as their primary function and revenue
- Browser settings and controlling cookies:
- “in-private” browsing deletes cookies on exit
- “privacy” settings can be adjusted in your browser, typically to disallow cookies, disallow third-party cookies, etc.
- Here for Microsoft’s explanation about cookies and how to manage them (you can find similar statements from Google and Mozilla).
♦ How to use “In-Private” browsing Read more
- Every major internet browser has an option for “private” browsing
- Internet Explorer calls it “In Private Browsing” (right click on IE icon and select “Start inPrivate Browsing”
- Mozilla calls it “Private Window” (right click and select “New Private Window”)
- Private mode opens a browser window that is disconnected from your computer’s web browsing history
- Websites will not recognize your browser based previous history, caches, or cookies.
- History, caches, and cookies will not be retained on your computer during private browsing mode
- Uses for private browsing include:
- logging in to a website with a different user/password (without losing your normal mode logins).
- viewing a page without previous settings without deleting those settings from your normal browser mode.
- browsing without leaving any history of it on your computer.
- Note: private browsing is only on your computer and not on the websites you visit:
- websites will still recognize your IP address; they just won’t have access to your existing cookies.
- private browsing in no way protects you from other dangers of the web, such as IP address tracking, viruses, etc,.
♦ How to use Windows Restore Read more
- The “Restore” function in Windows 7 and 8 will reset your Windows and programs settings to a previous date.
- It will not change files
- It will change programs
- If you click on the wrong button or your computer acts up, Restore is an easy, painless way to go back to the way things were before the problem event.
- Turn on Restore in System settings
- To Restore select the Restore date you want and let it go. It may take a while
- After the Restore process, you will likely need new Windows Updates.
- The most likely need for a System Restore is from installing or clicking on an unwanted file from a website. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU CLICK! And always look for pre-checked boxes when installing a program, as the often try to throw some other program onto your system (especially Adobe Flash which will install Google programs unless you de-select it.
♦ Why you should use a Speaker phone Read more
- Just about all cell phones and landlines have a “speaker” function
- Holding a phone to your head requires focus on that act and thereby diminishes other activities, especially driving or walking.
- Speaker phone frees the user to concentrate on both the conversation and other tasks and situations.
- Headsets and Bluetooth devices accomplish the same with the additional benefit of privacy not available with speakerphones.
♦ How to use Outlook search functions Read more
- Outlook has powerful search functions, including:
- Control+ E to open search tab and place cursor in search field (email, calendar, and all other views)
- enter name or keyword and add words to narrow searches
- drop-down to select
- Search by Categories
- if you use Categories, Search will bring up all contacts, emails, or calendar entries by category
- if you have Categories for Contacts, search categories, select all, then click on Email to create an email to all Contacts in that Category.
- People search
- at Home tab in any view, the “Search People” box will immediately find contacts
- select and open contact
- select “People Pane” to view all emails, attachments, meetings, etc. with that contact (People Pane at bottom right of Contact box)
- Calendar Search works the same: Control + E to enter the Search box (or place cursuro there with mouse) and off you go!
- see here for a video blog demonstration of the Outlook search functions.
♦ How to use Windows Libraries Read more
- The Windows 7 “Files Explorer” has a neat trick to organize and find files and folders called “Libraries”
- Libraries are links and not the actual location of the files/folders
- Right click on Desktop/Libraries and select “New”
- Name it and click on the Library and select the “Include a Folder” button
- Search and select the folder you want and voila, this library will now take you straight there with a single click.
- You can rename or delete the library without changing the actual folder
- Libraries make organize and use so much easier. In Windows 8, go to Desktop view and you will find the same features there using Files Explorer.
♦ Learn some Email tricks Read more
- To reply to an email from your own reply, select “reply all” and all the other recipients will show in the “To” or “CC” except yourself.
- Changing “From” name: just type in the name you want in “quotes” and then put the core email address in <brackets> or (parentheses ). For example: “Cool Stuff” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- BCC is used to hide recipients from each other. Let’s say you want to invite 50 friends but don’t want to share email addresses between them. Send to an alias of yourself, or just one person, and then put all the rest of the emails under “BCC” and everyone will only see you, the sender, and your alias “To” email address.
♦ Learn some Web Browser Shortcuts Read more
- Control + Tab = new tab
- Control + N = new window
- Control + Tab = move to next tab (Control + Shift + Tab = previous tab)
- Control + “+” (plus sign) = zoom in (Control + – = zoom out)
- Alt + D = move cursor to address bar & select current url
- F5 = refresh
- Left Click Tab & Drag = move tab out of current Window (and into a new window if you like)