Helpful Windows 10 Resources From The “What’s On My PC” Tech Blog

July 26, 2015

Windows 10 will start rolling out on July 29, 2015. The strategy, from what I understand, will be to release the upgrade in waves; which, indicates to me your upgrade may not hit your PC for awhile.

In the meantime, to prep everyone, I have been posting information (here and there) about Windows 10 since the beginning of June. To bring this all together I have listed the articles that I have posted (from the most recent to oldest) as a quick reference resource in an effort to help you with the upgrade process and to learn more about Windows 10.

What Happens Next After You Reserve Your Copy Of Windows 10

Your Questions Answered About Windows 10

Need A Quick Intro To Windows 10?

GWX.EXE (Or, How To Remove the Windows 10 Upgrade Nag)

Nice Brief Review On What Will Be New (To You) In Windows 10

Get Answers To Windows 10 FAQ’s HERE

Reserve Your FREE Upgrade To Windows 10 Now

Confirmed – Windows 10 Availability Date Is July 29, 2015

I have been following Windows 10 since its’ early development, and based on Microsoft’s history of good and bad operating system releases, Windows 10 is an operating system that Microsoft knows that they have to get right.  I am pretty excited about this release myself and can’t wait to try it…  If you are in a situation where you are not eligible for the upgrade and/or you are building a PC, here is a link to buy Windows 10 at Amazon — CLICK HERE 

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A Brief “How To” On Replacing The Power Supply In Your Computer

June 19, 2015

One of the most popular articles, at What’s On My PC, is about pinpointing whether a power supply is failing or not (Symptoms of a Failing Computer Power Supply)… What the article does not get into, is how to remove the power supply and replace it. If you examine the picture below of a computer power supply, it appears from all the wiring, it is a complex process; but, in reality it is not.

Today, I came across a brief “how to” on replacing the power supply in your computer at PCWorld. The article describes very nicely the two factors involved:

How Remove Your Old PC Power Supply

AND

How To Replace Your PC Power Supply

How to replace a power supply...

I encourage you to take a minute or two to review the article and I think you will agree that removing and replacing a power supply is not very difficult. If you are looking for a replacement power supply click here

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Email – Less Is More

May 17, 2015

Was reading the USA Today tech article about 8 things you’re still doing wrong with email and there was “one of the eight” that really jumped out at me. That “one” being;  When composing an email “Less Is More” — meaning:

K. I. S. S. — Keep it simple, stupid. Email is not the place to write a novel. With more than 121 emails in a typical inbox a day (source: The Radicati Group), no one wants to read 17 pages of text. Granted, your emails needn’t be as cold and brief as an instant message or text (e.g. “C U @ 10 4 java?”) but be sure what you’re communicating is clear and near the top of the email, as studies have shown our attention span tends to drift as our eyes scan down the page. Friendly is good, but keep your email messages short, simple and concise. — source: USA Today

Oftentimes, especially when emotion is involved, we have a tendency to write lengthy emails. I can tell you from experience, that writing lengthy emails; especially, to the people that manage us at work, will not get you anywhere. If anything, it will have a negative impact.

Also, I have found two concerns, since the inception of email that factors into the equation:

  1. Most people are not good readers… (i.e. cannot accurately interpret or absorb the point being presented due to being too busy; lack good reading skills, short attention span, could care less, etc…)
  2. Most people are not good writers… (cannot accurately provide an interpretation of the point being presented due to poor grammar skills; poor spelling; lack attention to detail, let emotions take over, etc… )

Email is a powerful communicator and can serve as a record of actions, of sorts; however, be very careful of what your intentions are. Once you hit send, retraction of an email is impossible. It is best to keep the content brief and to the point. If you are sending an email, based on your emotions, I highly recommend you wait, really think it out and/or personally meet with or talk to the person.

A trick that has served me well, to make sure my email gets read, is to make the subject line of the email stick out like a sore thumb that is based on what the direct point or content of the email is. For example, instead of a subject line such as “Call Me”; I may insert a subject line “Call Me About the What’s On My PC Contract – ASAP”…

Let me know what some of your advice is when it comes to Email…

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If Your Windows 8.1 Computer Is Not Adjusting For Daylight Saving Time

March 10, 2015

When Daylight Saving Time occurred on March 8th, I noticed when I turned on my computer that it did not adjust for Daylight Saving Time. I did not realize, until this experience, that trying to set the time on my Windows 81. computer was a pain in the butt and figured that this experience may end up helping someone else out. I know I am losing my touch from being out of the IT field for awhile, but this was crazy and I can understand why people, not completely familiar with computers, would get frustrated.

I initially, as first thought, went to the taskbar tray, clicked on the time (then clicked on “Change date and time setting), then clicked on the “Change date and time” button  and manually set the time to account for the time change. Several days later, on a reboot, I noticed that the time reverted again back an hour. On this occasion I went into the time settings, by clicking on the time in the taskbar tray (then clicked on “Change date and time setting), then clicked on the “Internet Time” tab and I noticed that when I manually performed a sync with one of the online internet servers, after I manually set the time, the time would automatically go back an hour.

I eventually found the solution; and that being once you go into the “Date and Time” settings either by clicking on the time in the taskbar tray or through the Control Panel, you want to click on the “Change time zone” button and make sure you have the “Automatically adjust clock for Daylight Saving Time” box with a check mark inside of it. Once I did that my time adjusted accordingly for my time zone. I have no idea how and why that box was unchecked; when, in my mind that should be checked by default (or I am starting to have one of those senior moments).

Windows 8.1 Time Settings

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KPC – “Keeping Parents Clueless” With Text Messaging

December 10, 2014

For a 57 year old techie, my texting skills are pretty good compared to others in my age group; but, put me up against today’s teens and I am clearly no match (not even close). Part of the problem may be that I do not know the text message acronym system that is used by today’s kids to shorten (and hide) what they type. As a matter of fact, the first time I received a text “LOL = laughing out loud”, from my daughter, I was scratching my head.

I often stand back and wonder who determines the standard for any particular text message acronym and how does this become an accepted standard???  It is almost like the kids are born into this type of secretive messaging system that KPC – Keeps Parents Clueless. As a matter of fact, the kids are the teachers in this case and as student parents we need to know and learn this special language (to help keep our kids safe).

The point of this article is to let you know, especially if you are a parent, that these types of text communications can be closely related to those raging hormones and possibly to a hidden problem.

I happened across an Arizona based website, called azcentral, that had a piece (and video) on this very topic, and featured the “Top 28 Internet and text message acronyms every parent should know… (Source: azcentral)

I hope this list provides insight and makes us more sensitive in knowing what our kids are doing and saying (in coded words) to each other:

1. IWSN – I want sex now

2. GNOC – Get naked on camera

3. NIFOC – Naked in front of computer

4. PIR – Parent in room

5 CU46 – See you for sex

6. 53X – Sex

7. 9 – Parent watching

8. 99 – Parent gone

9. 1174′ – Party meeting place

10. THOT – That hoe over there

11. CID – Acid (the drug)

12. Broken – Hungover from alcohol

13. 420 – Marijuana

14. POS – Parent over shoulder

15. SUGARPIC – Suggestive or erotic photo

16. KOTL – Kiss on the lips

17. (L)MIRL – Let’s meet in real life

18. PRON – Porn

19. TDTM – Talk dirty to me

20. 8 – Oral sex

21. CD9 – Parents around/Code 9

22. IPN – I’m posting naked

23. LH6 – Let’s have sex

24. WTTP – Want to trade pictures?

25. DOC – Drug of choice

26. TWD – Texting while driving

27. GYPO – Get your pants off

28. KPC- Keeping parents clueless

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Having Problems Cloning A Windows 8 PC Hard Drive? Read These Articles, Download This FREE Software and Watch This Video

December 2, 2014

I recently purchased a new Windows 8 Box (see this article) and decided I wanted to make a bootable cloned drive. Being old school I went to work using the cloning software I had on hand and I immediately noticed something different in the drive partitions. The free software I was using was not getting the job done; and the drive, after the cloning process, did not boot. My tech instinct told me I was missing out on something and went to work researching terms I was seeing, such as GPT and UEFI.

I had been out of the field for nearly 7 years, have kept up with things (more as a hobby), but was not real familiar with the new GPT and UEFI terms that I was seeing. I had heard of the terms, but really did not pay any attention to them. Besides I always was a more of a software guy than a hardware guy (so it really did not hit high on my priority list, until now).

I soon discovered that all Windows 8 machines nowadays support the new GPT and UEFI ; AND, that it is real important to know what GPT and UEFI are when you get into the hardware side of a Windows 8 based computer.

In real simple terms GPT is the new replacement for MBR – Master Boot Record and UEFI is the new replacement for the BIOS – Basic Input/Output System.

To define GPT and UEFI in more complex terms (and to get a full understanding), I went to Wikipedia for a definition and found two really good articles that will bring this all together.

GUID Partition Table (GPT) is a standard for the layout of the partition table on a physical hard disk, using globally unique identifiers (GUID). Although it forms a part of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) standard (Unified EFI Forum proposed replacement for the PC BIOS)…  source: wikipedia:GUID Partition Table 

If you read this article “What’s the Difference Between GPT and MBR When Partitioning a Drive?” you will see that MBR is old school and GPT is new school… source: How-To Geek

If you read this article “UEFI boot: how does that actually work, then?” you will see where the author adamantly is telling us UEFI and BIOS are two completely different beasts. This article in my opinion really nails down all of this stuff to the point where I found a lot of what I had been reading was off base due to people using the terminology incorrectly.

You do not have a ‘UEFI BIOS’. No-one has a ‘UEFI BIOS’. Please don’t ever say ‘UEFI BIOS’. BIOS is not a generic term for all PC firmware, it is a particular type of PC firmware. Your computer has a firmware. If it’s an IBM PC compatible computer, it’s almost certainly either a BIOS or a UEFI firmware… source: AdamW on Linux and more

Getting back to my original problem of cloning my Windows 8 hard drive, I now knew I needed to find cloning software that supported GPT and UEFI. This is where I found Macrium Reflect (FREE Edition), which supported the cloning process for GPT and UEFI based systems. Macrium Reflect is a free disaster recovery solution for your home computer that primarily specializes in making drive images.

Also, during my research, I came across this instructional video “How to Clone Windows 8” , where the person in the video will clearly walk you through the cloning process using the FREE Edition of Macrium Reflect…

When it comes to cloning Windows 8 or 8.1 you need to use the right software for the job, whats even better you don’t have to pay. Here is a free option that lets you clone Windows 8 or 8.1 with ease. The program is called Macruim Reflect, it supports the new GPT and UEFI BIOS that all windows 8 machines come with now days.

In the end, once I educated myself about GPT and UEFI, had the right software, and watched how to do it; I walked away with a successfully cloned (and bootable) hard drive. Due to my real life experience working through this, I decided to help others out in the event they start pulling their hair out, like I did…

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Be Ready For When The Cybercriminal That Misrepresents Microsoft Calls You

November 17, 2014

I want to start off this post by stating something I tell people, especially the elderly, who came from a generation that trusted other people.

“If you receive an unsolicited telephone call, whether it be a charity, a politician, an alarm company, your grandson is locked up in a jail in Canada, etc… where the caller is wanting money, PLEASE disconnect the call”.

What I am finding is once you get hooked by these calls you are placed on a call list that is sold to others AND the calls will perpetuate into more calls. It is like getting spammed by telephone and it gets so bad that you do not know what is real and what is not. My general rule of thumb is, when I get a phone call at my house and there is a delay of 3 seconds, GUESS WHAT? You just got disconnected.

 

One of my favorite blogging sites is TCAT Shelbyville – Technical Blog. Recently they posted an article (that I reblogged) titled, “No, you are not a Microsoft employee, no I don’t have a virus and by the way, you are definitely talking to the wrong people” that really hit home with me personally. I actually know several people, including members of my immediate family, where this fraudulent activity occurred.

The fraudulent activity I refer to is where a person (usually with a foreign accent) will randomly call you and tell you that they are a Microsoft Tech and will offer to fix your computer problems or sell you a software license. They will convince you into taking over your computer remotely and then they will go to work attempting one or all of the following:

  • Trick you into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge you to remove this software.
  • Convince you to visit legitimate websites (like http://www.ammyy.com) to download software that will allow them to take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
  • Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.
  • Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information there

After reading the TCAT-Shelbyville article, I started wondering if Microsoft is aware that they are being misrepresented in this manner. What I discovered is that they do know and actually have a page up on their Safety & Security Site that focuses specifically on this matter. I strongly encourage you to visit Microsoft and read, “Avoid Tech Support Phone Scams” where you will learn the following:

  • Telephone tech support scams: What you need to know
  • How to protect yourself from telephone tech support scams
  • What to do if you already gave information to a tech support person
  • Will Microsoft ever call me?

How to report this crime:

The CyberCriminals that initiate these calls know that most people will not report the crime. I suggest that if you are victim of a call such as this, especially if you find your credit card has been compromised, that you report the matter to the local authorities and contact your credit card company immediately to be issued another card.

Microsoft also encourages you to contact them, as well:

Whenever you receive a phone call or see a pop-up window on your PC and feel uncertain whether it is from someone at Microsoft, don’t take the risk. Reach out directly to one of their technical support experts dedicated to helping you at the Microsoft Answer Desk. Or you can simply call Microsoft at 1-800-426-9400 or one of their customer service phone numbers for people located around the world.

Report phone scams 

In the United States, use the FTC Complaint Assistant form.

In Canada, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre can provide support.

In the United Kingdom, you can report fraud as well as unsolicited calls.

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TECH DEAL – Metro Vacuum ED500 DataVac 500-Watt 0.75-HP Electric Duster 120 volt

November 11, 2014

To maintain optimum cooling performance and stability of your computers and electronics it is necessary that on a regularly scheduled basis that you blow out the dust that accumulates. I have seen the interior components of computers so laden with dust that a blanket had actually developed causing the computer to overheat and stop functioning. Not forgetting to mention that dust build up on electronics can cause an overheated condition that potentially can lead to a fire.

A solution to this issue is to used cans of compressed air. This is a good solution; however, it can also be a costly solution with the costs of canned air being as high as $7 or 8$. A solution to eliminating the ongoing expense of canned air is the Metro Vaccuum Electric Duster. Bite the bullet on the cost of this duster and never buy cans of compressed air again.

Don’t let the name of this product fool you into thinking this is a vaccuum cleaner. It is the opposite, it is a duster with a 3/4 HP blower and it is awesome (and powerful) that will blow the dust out of just about anything. When blowing dust from your computer, make sure you do it in an open air environment (like outdoors) and make sure you wear eye protection.

I found a good deal on this at Amazon that you can use as a price comparison and where you can get a good read on the customer reviews (of over 1500 reviews). I cannot emphasize the importance of keeping your electronics dust free.

Metro Vacuum ED500 DataVac
500-Watt 0.75-HP Electric Duster 120 volt

Metro Vaccuum Duster

Features:

Electric duster is compact and comfortable to use.

Powerful 500-Watt motor literally blasts dust, dirt and debris off expensive computer/electronic equipment.

Motor: .75 HP, Amps: 4.5 amps, Weight: 2.7 lbs.


Google Chrome Tip – How To Open Links In New Tab In Background

November 8, 2014

Google Chrome TipGoogle Chrome user?  Try this handy tip. Not sure if this will work in the other browsers; but, you may want to give it a try. To me this tip is pretty handy, especially if you are researching something and you need to open another browser tab in the background.  I found two ways this will work:

1 – Hover your mouse on a link on a web page and CLICK your MIDDLE MOUSE BUTTON and the link will open in a new tab (in the background). For some reason, the type of mouse that I have, this did not work; however, other mice I have used, this does work.

2 – A workaround, if your middle mouse button does not work (like in my case), is to hover your mouse on a link, is to push down the CTRL key on the keyboard and LEFT MOUSE CLICK the link. Again, this will open the link in a new tab (in the backgound).

 


Windows 10 Technical Preview: Install As A Dual Boot Configuration OR Install In A Virtual Box

October 12, 2014

If you are looking for a method to “test and try” the Windows 10 Technical Preview and you do not have a test PC available; I found detailed instructions, from two very reputable sources, for two common install options. Even though these options are commonly used, it always the general-rule-of-thumb to have backups of your personal files and your hard drive readily available in the event trouble arises.

OPTION #1 (provided by the How To Geek):  How to Dual-Boot Windows 10 with Windows 7 or 8 – You probably shouldn’t install Windows 10 on your primary PC. But, if you are going to, you should at least install it in a dual-boot configuration. You can then reboot to switch between your installed versions of Windows. Be sure you have backups of your important files before doing this. You shouldn’t lose your files if you follow this process, but a mistake or bug could cause you to lose them. Better safe than sorry! … READ MORE

How to Dual-Boot Windows 10 with Windows 7 or 8

 

OPTION #2 (provided by TechRepublic): Pro tip: How to install Windows 10 Technical Preview in VirtualBox – Do you want to take a closer look at the Windows 10 Technical Preview, but you don’t want to disrupt your current computing environment with what is essentially an incomplete and potentially unstable operating system? If, so you’re in luck, because you can do so quite easily and without any fear by installing the Windows 10 Technical Preview in an Oracle VM VirtualBox virtual machine. In this article, I’ll show you how… READ MORE

VirtualBox with Windows 10


Use Ctrl + H in Google Chrome To Access and Manage Your Browsing History

September 13, 2014

If you use the Google Chrome Web Browser, hold down the “Ctrl” key on your keyboard and hit the “H” key… This hotkey combination makes it easy to view your history (for the past 90 days) and to manage various aspects of it, such as “clearing your browsing history” and managing the history on any of your other google account signed-in devices.

Chrome - Browsing History

Use the History page to view a list of websites you’ve ever visited in the last 90 days while using Google Chrome in standard mode. This page doesn’t store pages from secure websites, those you’ve visited in incognito mode, or those you’ve deleted from your browsing history. If you’re signed in to Chrome on multiple devices you will see your browsing history from those signed-in devices. Any changes that you make to your history on one device will be synced to your other signed-in devices automatically.

 


Train Yourself To Use The Windows 8/8.1 Quick Access Menu (aka: Win +X Menu)

September 12, 2014

If you are a Windows 8 user, teach yourself to to use the Quick Access Menu (also known as the “Win + X menu” where you hold down the “Windows Key” on the keyboard and hit the “X” key on the keyboard).

To get to the Quick Access menu using the mouse, right mouse-click the “Start Button” at the bottom-left corner of any screen (including the Start screen or the Desktop) and the menu will pop up. If you don’t see the “Start Button”, move your mouse to the lower-left corner, and the “Start Button” will appear.

Quick Access Menu

The reason you should train yourself to use this menu is that this menu was designed by Microsoft to give you a specific (hidden) location to quickly access the most commonly used and advanced options on your computer, no matter what screen you are working from (for example: you can do things like shut down and sign out, get to Control Panel, Task Manager, File Explorer, or open a Command Prompt window).

Few people know about this menu; and, the few that do know this menu is there, forget to use it. In a nutshell the “Quick Access Menu” gets you to the nuts and bolts of the Windows 8 operating system.


How To Activate The Windows 8.1 Onscreen Keyboards During Those Times Of Laziness

September 8, 2014

There are times when I am at my computer where my posture and position are just not ergonomically correct (by all standards). It is called getting comfortable (by my standards). It is when I am in my comfortable posture and position, with feet propped to the side, that typing from the keyboard requires me to become a contortionist (which then defeats the purpose of being in my comfortable position).

To solve this problem of using the keyboard I use the onscreen keyboards that are built into Windows 8.1 and use the mouse pointer to type (using the hunt and peck method).  To get to these keyboards and have them readily available here is what you do:

1st OPTION: Using the Windows 8.1 Touch Keyboard

1 – To Activate The Keyboard: Right click the taskbar at the bottom of your screen, select Toolbars, then click on Touch Keyboard. 

2 – To Launch The Keyboard: Click on the icon that is now on the taskbar to show or hide the keyboard (you can also click on the close “X” button to hide it, as well).

Touch Keyboard

2nd OPTION: Using the Windows 8.1 On Screen Keyboard

1 – To Activate and Launch The Keyboard: Press the key combination [Windows-Logo]+[R] and type the following command: osk and then confirm by pressing [Enter].

2 – Pinning To Taskbar:  After the keyboard launches, click on the minimize button so that the keyboard minimizes to the taskbar.  Once it is minimized to the taskbar, right mouse click the keyboard icon and select “pin to taskbar”.

3 – Using the Options: This onscreen keyboard can be moved around and resized; whereas the previous keyboard option presented is stationary at the bottom of the screen. There is an option’s button built into this keyboard that will allow you to add or remove features of the this keyboard. One nice feature using this keyboard is that it has word prediction built in, which makes your typing experience faster (and more accurate); PLUS, it also has a “hover” option (when turned on) that you can hover over a key with your mouse pointer and the letter will be typed for you.

On Screen Keyboard

You will see many articles out there on how to turn these keyboards “off”; whereas, for purposes of laziness I have presented you with how to turn these keyboards “on”…

These keyboards are really handy when you need to type in short text strings, such as a web address, a password, etc… I don’t think I will be typing any letters with these; BUT, what I am finding is that I am really getting faster at mouse typing (using the “hunt and peck method” or, maybe I should say the “hunt and click method”).


GEEK SQUEAK – Is your Windows 8 OS optimized for SSD?

September 5, 2014

If you have installed, a SSD to Windows 8 or 8.1, and you are not sure the OS is optimized for an SSD, go to TCAT Shelbyville’s Technical Blog to learn the secret on how you can tell…

TCAT Shelbyville