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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What Happens Next After You Reserve Your Copy Of Windows 10

July 23, 2015

Many of you have taken advantage of the offer from Microsoft by reserving your FREE upgrade to Windows 10. If you are not aware of the offer, please know that you are eligible for the FREE upgrade if you are running Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

To take advantage of the offer, look for the Microsoft Windows 8 logo that should have magically appeared in your system tray (bottom right corner of your screen). You would be surprised of how many folks I have talked to about this and were totally unaware that the logo was present. The graphic below (minus the “Windows 10” text) is an example of the logo you should be looking for.

This logo appeared through the Windows update service. If you click on the logo you can reserve your copy of Windows 10 (that is scheduled for release on July 29, 2013) and you can confirm that your computer is compatible with Windows 10. This is a full version of Windows 10 and you have up to a year to take advantage of this offer. After the year is up, you will be required to purchase Windows 10 (which, last I looked would be in the ballpark of $120).

Now that you have reserved your copy of Windows 10, you are probably wondering what happens next?

From the time you reserve your copy and when your upgrade is ready, the files needed to perform the upgrade will be downloaded to your computer. You most likely will not even notice this occurring. Microsoft, through their normal update stream is in essence trickling the Windows 10 install files to your computer and setting the stage for the final installation that will occur after July 29, 2015.

I do recommend, prior to this upgrade, that you perform (at the minimum) a backup of your personal files (such as documents, pictures, videos, music, etc…) and to be completely safe perform an image backup of your computer’s hard disk (using software such as AOMEI or Macrium Reflect).

Once the stage has been set, you will get a notification or prompt to launch your upgrade. You can install right away or opt to wait. I know many of us in the tech field opt to never install a fresh release of an OS, but my thoughts on this is that Microsoft must be pretty sure of themselves on this since it will be available to millions and millions of people and are strongly encouraging people to upgrade. I am sure there will be glitches, due to the variables involved (especially with home based computer systems).

After you initiate the launch of the upgrade, it is expected take an hour or more for the upgrade to complete.

Good luck with this…  I would really be interested in hearing stories about how your Windows 10 upgrade experience went.

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Need A Quick Intro To Windows 10?

July 12, 2015

The public release of Windows 10 is only a few weeks away and I am starting to see content being published to prepare people for the change. For example, Lenovo has available for review (and download) a FREE 17 page content (actually 23 pages) PDF manual “Starting To Use Windows 10” that will help you get up and running pretty quickly. If you have not been following Windows 10, you may want to take a look at this.

Windows 10 - Lenovo

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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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Great Microsoft Excel Tips (and a BONUS)

June 10, 2015

Kudos to The Windows Club for giving us FIVE great Microsoft Excel Tips (that I know I will be using). Whether you are learning Excel or already a seasoned user, visit The Windows Club to learn about Microsoft Excel Tips to Save Time and Work Faster …  

Microsoft Excel Tips

The five tips they have listed are:

1. Multiple Lines in a Cell

2. Add Cell Values Quickly

3. Create Chart Templates to reuse

4. Create Chart from different cell values

5. Use Names in Formulas to Understand Easily

BONUS

As a bonus, I went on the hunt for other Excel Shortcuts (see below) that may be helpful and found the following resources (that can be printed for future reference).

 CTRL combination shortcut keys

Function keys

Other useful shortcut keys

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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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Your Smartphone May Be Tracking You And Everywhere You Go (with Timestamps)

May 13, 2015

Friend of mine pointed me to this NBC News Video that explains in approximately 3 minutes how our smartphones (whether it be an Apple iPhone or Google Android Phone) are configured, by default, to track everywhere you go and keep a history of your movements. If you are not familiar with the settings on your phone that turn “on” this services, I highly recommend you take a moment, watch the video, and learn how to turn “off” these service.

How scary is this?  I have an Android Smartphone and when I purchased the phone, I had turned the Google Location Services to “off”.  I knew full well this was a tracking component; but, what I didn’t know was how powerful it was, until now.

For experimental purposes (and for benefit of this article), I turned the services back “on” and drove my wife to work. When I returned home I went to my desktop computer and went to Google’s Location History web site (you must have a google account in order for this to work). Low and behold my every movement from leaving my house, taking my wife to work, and returning home was tracked.

Also, to visually demontrate this, below is a screenshot (from my smartphone) where this service tracked my movements using Google Maps. I deliberately reduced the screenshot size so as not to reveal my location. If you notice to the left side of the map there is a calendar. If you have the service turned “on”, you can click on any date to determine where you have been (or your cheating lover), with associated timestamps.  You can also export the data to an XML file and most importantly an option to delete the data and the history… Again, watch the video and know how to turn these settings “on” and “off”.

Google Location History

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How To Activate The FM Radio Chip In Your Smartphone

May 9, 2015

I bet you did not know that your smartphone has a FM radio chip built into the phone that has the ability to receive FM radio signal broadcasts, just like any FM radio. Since this technology works off of the radio waves, no internet data connection is required.

So, how do you activate the chip in order to receive FM radio broadcasts? This “how to” article is a little bit more involved than what the title may lead you to believe; but, to activate the chip requires each of us to TAKE ACTION and contact our wireless carriers to request that the FM radio chip technology be activated. From what I have read, carriers in other countries activate the chips (by default).

Free Radio On My Phone

To learn more about the FM Radio chip, please visit Free Radio On My Phone

Contact your wireless carrier today to let them know — as a matter of public safety and consumer fairness for data plans — you want your phone’s FM chip activated for constant access to free FM radio!

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How Can I Upgrade To Windows 10 For FREE?

March 20, 2015

In the coming months, when Windows 10 is released to the general public, you may be wondering what the upgrade path will be (in order to get it FREE)…

I noticed on Microsoft’s Window 10 web site the following announcement. You can sign up now, via email, to received ongoing information about Windows 10.

“Great News!  We will offer a FREE upgrade to Windows 10 for qualified new or existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 devices that upgrade in the first year. And even better, once a qualified Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it up to date for the supported lifetime of the device, keeping it more secure, and introducing new features and functionality over time — for no additional charge. Sign up with your email today, and we will send you more information about Windows 10 and the upgrade offer in the coming months.”

SOURCE

Windows 10 Upgrade Offer

To read more NEWS on this — CLICK HERE

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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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Using The Windows Command Line Service Control (SC) to Delete A Windows Service

December 30, 2014

While reviewing the Windows Event log on my Windows 8.1 computer, an error was being produced each time I booted the computer to indicate that a Windows Service was not loading. After researching the name of the service I found that the service was related to a software application that I had installed; and, then subsequently uninstalled. The service was still hooked into the Windows registry and was not removed during the uninstall process. I needed to find a way to remove the service that I positively knew was not part of the operating system.

To remove the service I had to open the Windows 8 command prompt (run as Administrator) and type the following Service Control (SC) command line syntax:

sc delete <and the name of the service>

NOTE: Do not type or include the characters < or >

Please keep in mind, once you delete the service, it is gone; so, it is important that you know what you are looking for and what you are doing. In my case, as I do in most cases, I use the power of the internet to research issues such as this to ultimately find the solution. In this case, I thought I would share this one with you.

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Download This Windows 8.1 Quick Reference Card

December 19, 2014

I happened, by chance, to come across this Windows 8.1 Quick Reference Card by Custom Guide Interactive (that your can download or print) that is buried at the University of Incarnate Word (whatever that is).

This “must have” guide will be of great assistance to you in navigating and learning about Windows 8.1… The card actually consists of 2 pages of Windows 8.1 training tips. Get it before it disappears!

Windows 8.1 Quick Reference Card

Windows 8.1 Quick Reference Guide

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Learn To Tie Knots At Animated Knots By Grog

November 15, 2014

Learn to tie knots for a variety of purposes at Animated Knots By Grog. As the title of the site indicates, you can select a knot of interest, and then watch an animated presentation on how the knot is made.  Really neat site…

Animated Knots


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).