DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

April 26, 2016

Windows 10 Tips, Part 4

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , — Ron @ 6:50 am

This is most likely the last week for Windows 10 tips so grab ’em while you can. It has been fun sharing questions from emails with you about W10 but next week on to an adventure I recently had.

Today I want to talk about the ribbon.  The ribbon first appeared in Microsoft Office 2007.  Basically the ribbon is a wide menu area at the top of the application window below the title bar.  I have never really understood this since it takes up more room and is just as intricate to navigate as the old dropdown menu system.  However, MS did not ever ask my opinion.

To see it in action open File Explorer (same as last week, not Internet Explorer but the folder button in the taskbar near the start menu button).  Explorer will open a window showing Desktop, Documents and many other things depending on your settings.

Notice at the top you will see tabs labeled Home, Share and View.  If you click them, you will see the ribbon below them with commands, which work in that particular area.  Since I commented that the ribbon takes up a lot of space on the screen here is how to “hide” it until you need it again.  Double click on any one of the tabs, say Home for example.  It will appear to fold up and hide and only show the tabs.  To see it and use the commands under it click it once and it will appear again.  Click anywhere off of it and the ribbon will hide again.

File Explorer Window

If you try this and decide you want to have the ribbon on full time like it was, double click a tab again and it will go back to the default setting.  This works on any application having the ribbon like most Microsoft Office products.

The search box is there from older versions but in W10 it is more useful and much quicker.  Pretend for a minute that you have over 1,300 columns you have written over the past 15 years (a real example from my files).  Now suppose you wrote a column on Chromecast sometime during that period.  You can type Chromecast in the search box in the upper right corner and press enter.  In less than a second you get eight results.

Suppose you now want to narrow it down to Google Chromecast so you search for that but you still get the same eight documents.  Put quotation marks around it like this, “Google Chromecast” and press enter.  I find only one document out of all 1,300 that has that exact phrase very, very quickly.  Is there a particular type of file you want to find, say an old PowerPoint presentation you made 5 years ago?  Search for .ppt (the extension for PowerPoint presentation) and find 200 of them you wrote.  Sort by modified date and you are done.

Search File Explorer

OK, I just realized I have at least one more Windows 10 tip from emails, so forget what I said in the beginning of this article…they keep on coming.

April 19, 2016

Windows 10 Tips, Part 3

The last two articles concerning Windows 10 tips have garnered many emails.  Today a few more.  If you remain interested keep those email questions coming in and I will tell more!

Today I will look at a few features of Windows Explorer since I had recent questions regarding it over the past weeks.

First off, Windows Explorer is not Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) which is the Microsoft internet browser that has been around for a long time.  That was replaced by Microsoft Edge. But back to Windows Explorer which is now most often referred to as File Explorer.

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File Explorer is easy to get to and is used to browse and find any folders or files on your computer.  To open it look at the taskbar at the bottom of the monitor to the right of the Windows start menu button and you will see a folder with maybe a blue bar on the bottom.  To open Explorer click that folder and there it is.  Another even easier way to open Explorer is to press the Windows button (on your keyboard, the one to the left of your spacebar with the windows logo on it) with the “E” key and Explorer will pop open on your screen.  There are other ways to get it open but those two are the easiest.

Once it is open there will be some folders on the left and right sides.  On the right you may find Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Pictures, Music and possibly more or less.  How many folders and what they are will depend on how your computer was set up, if you have changed anything or if any programs have put their own folders there.

On the left side is the “Quick access” menu where you can add things quickly to find in another easy area…more about that later.

Pin to Quick accessLet us say that you want add your “O-Check Column” folder which is under “Documents” on your computer to the Quick Access area on the left.  Browse to the O-Check Column folder on the right and when you find O-Check Column, right click the folder.  Now click “Pin to Quick access.”  The columns folder will appear at the bottom of Quick access.  You may have to scroll up a bit to see everything clearly.  If you wish to move the new folder – click and drag it up to where you like it located.

 

Right click on Ron's File ExplorerNow that we have added the O-Check Column folder to QA what can you do with it?  Well, close down your Explorer window.  Right click on the File Explorer icon on your taskbar (not left click) and the items in your Quick access area of File Explorer will appear starting at the top and going down in the order you put them earlier.  Click on the one you want to immediately open that folder.

These are your most used or Favorite folders that you may need to access often.  I have the Pictures folder there also with my Columns so I can get to either very quickly.

More next week.

March 31, 2015

What Should I Install?

I regularly receive questions concerning readers buying new computers.  They will usually ask what antivirus software they should install to keep everything protected.  I usually suggest one or two good antivirus applications.  Keep in mind I am only referencing Windows machines and, due to my frugal nature, free applications. 

Microsoft Windows logoIf you have a Windows 7 system, I recommend going to Microsoft.com and searching for "Microsoft Security Essentials."  Go to the download page, download it and install it.  It may already be on your new computer if the manufacturer made a deal with MS to preinstall it.  However, do not worry if it is, it will harm nothing to reinstall.

Windows Defender screenFor a Windows 8.1 (or 8 if you have not upgraded yet…which you should ASAP) you have "Windows Defender" already installed on your computer.  It comes automatically with all versions of W8.  It is an upgraded version of "Security Essentials" for W8.  These are both good antivirus apps and really all you need unless you go to disreputable places that may possibly be able to defeat them.  They are good in that they will be updated with Windows Update so you do not have to do anything additional to get them updated as you do with all other third party apps. 

Avast! logoSome people do not trust MS and want another antivirus software so I recommend, "Avast!"  If you choose to install Avast go to, "Avast.com" only.  The reason is, if you search for it online you may be directed to a disreputable site.  It may be listed as a free download but you may be getting something that could harm your system. 

One other major application I would install on all computers today is Malwarebytes (download the free version at Malwarebytes.org).  I mentioned it toward the end of last year but many people have asked about it, so I feel I need to remind you. 

Malwarebytes logoI personally had not installed Malwarebytes on my computer figuring my antivirus software took care of everything.  A year or more ago I noticed my system running slower than it should be and I found a toolbar installed on Internet Explorer I had not installed.  I had not noticed it before since I do not regularly use MSIE as my browser so I had no idea how long it was on my computer.  Anytime you have a toolbar on your browser that you know nothing about is not a good sign.  It most likely means that you have some malware running and you need to remove it…now!  So I knew my computer had been had. 

Malware is software inserted when you download something, either intentionally or not, that is designed to do damage or some sort to your system.  It can totally or partially disable your computer.

The first time you run Malwarebytes you may get tens to hundreds of files recognized.  Delete them all!  I would encourage you to run it on some sort of regular schedule.  A weekly, monthly or quarterly time frame is good depending on how much you are online.

I almost guarantee if you install and run this on your old computer you will find many malware items present.  

What Should I Install?

I regularly receive questions concerning readers buying new computers.  They will usually ask what antivirus software they should install to keep everything protected.  I usually suggest one or two good antivirus applications.  Keep in mind I am only referencing Windows machines and, due to my frugal nature, free applications. 

imageIf you have a Windows 7 system, I recommend going to Microsoft.com and searching for "Microsoft Security Essentials."  Go to the download page, download it and install it.  It may already be on your new computer if the manufacturer made a deal with MS to preinstall it.  However, do not worry if it is, it will harm nothing to reinstall.

Picture of Windows DefenderFor a Windows 8.1 (or 8 if you have not upgraded yet…which you should ASAP) you have "Windows Defender" already installed on your computer.  It comes automatically with all versions of W8.  It is an upgraded version of "Security Essentials" for W8.  These are both good antivirus apps and really all you need unless you go to disreputable places that may possibly be able to defeat them.  They are good in that they will be updated with Windows Update so you do not have to do anything additional to get them updated as you do with all other third party apps. 

imageSome people do not trust MS and want another antivirus software so I recommend, "Avast!"  If you choose to install Avast go to, "avast.com" only.  The reason is, if you search for it online you may be directed to a disreputable site.  It may be listed as a free download but you may be getting something that could harm your system. 

One other major application I would install on all computers today is Malwarebytes (download the free version at malwarebytes.org).  I mentioned it toward the end of last year but many people have asked about it, so I feel I need to remind you. 

imageI personally had not installed Malwarebytes on my computer figuring my antivirus software took care of everything.  A year or more ago I noticed my system running slower than it should be and I found a toolbar installed on Internet Explorer I had not installed.  I had not noticed it before since I do not regularly use MSIE as my browser so I had no idea how long it was on my computer.  Anytime you have a toolbar on your browser that you know nothing about is not a good sign.  It most likely means that you have some malware running and you need to remove it…now!  So I knew my computer had been had. 

Malware is software inserted when you download something, either intentionally or not, that is designed to do damage or some sort to your system.  It can totally or partially disable your computer.

The first time you run Malwarebytes you may get tens to hundreds of files recognized.  Delete them all!  I would encourage you to run it on some sort of regular schedule.  A weekly, monthly or quarterly time frame is good depending on how much you are online.

I almost guarantee if you install and run this on your old computer you will find many malware items present.  

June 3, 2014

Try a New Browser

Last week I talked about an issue that was happening with Google’s Chromecast and Chrome browser related to Android tablets and phones.  I stated there, "…you could always try various browsers from time-to-time and find out what you may like.  It is easy to change back at any time."  When I wrote that I did not realize it would generate so much interest.  I received numerous emails asking if it is so easy, how is it done?

So here we go.

MSIE LogoAll windows computers come with Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) built in as the default browser.  Keep in mind that whether you use that browser or not DO NOT try to uninstall it.  It is hard to do but if you get it off of your computer some other things on your computer will not work correctly or not at all.  That browser is tied to other areas of the Microsoft operating system.

The other most popular browsers are, in order of usage, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, (already on your Windows system) Safari (created by Apple – available for both iOS & Windows devices) and Opera.  This information is from 2012 through today, according to W3Schools.com which tracks this data.  In 2011 Chrome and Firefox were swapped. 

Google Chrome                    Apple Safari                    Opera

So let us pretend that you want to try out Chrome and stop using MSIE for a little while.  Go to the site referenced above.  Click the download button and the application will start to download.  Depending on your settings it may ask if you want to run the application and you may also click, "Yes."  If you download it, find the downloaded file and double click it to start the installation.  If you chose to "run" the application you will now be at the installation screen.

It will ask you if you want to make it your default browser.  This means that if you click the check box for it to be default all of your links will open in Chrome after the installation completes instead of MSIE. 

Each of the others will install pretty much the same way.  You could even install all of these browsers at the same time.  Then you will have to choose which one you want to be the default browser. 

Choosing which browser is your default is easy in Windows 7 and 8. You just need to do a quick search.  In W7 click the start button and type, "default programs" and in W8 use the search feature and do the same. To get to search press the Windows key and tap the "S" key.  You may need to select "Set your default programs."  Once in the default program screen your default applications will be listed on the left side.  Find the current default browser and click on it once.  Then, "Choose defaults for this program" and you will see all of the current settings for the default browser.  To change it, choose the other browser you want to use from all of the choices provided.

Set your default programs

In Windows 7 it is sometimes easier to go into the Options of any browser and choose it to make it the default.  This will work with Windows 8 too with the exception of MSIE.

Happy surfing!

May 6, 2014

OneNote

I have mentioned OneNote by Microsoft several times in recent articles.  I have had many emails asking me to do an introduction column regarding this application.  So here it is.

In my opinion OneNote is one of the most overlooked and enigmatic applications in the Microsoft stables today.  MS has not mentioned it much until the last year or so and many people do not want to learn a new program.  However, if you gather information for columns, presentations, or thoughts for anything, OneNote could be your new best friend. 

image First off, you get OneNote from Microsoft.  It is available for most any platform that you have.  So you can install it on a PC, MAC, Android, iPhone, Windows phones, etc.  There is also an excellent version available on the web which will work in any browser.  To download it and learn more about it (I have covered only the tip of the berg) visit onenote.com.  Costs vary from free to whatever your Office version costs since it is part of MS Office.

OneNote uses an organizational process you may be familiar with. Picture a regular old spiral notebook like you used in school…well sort of.  Your notebooks consist of Sections and Pages.  For example, here is the way I use it for article research. 

I have one notebook labeled Columns.  This is where I keep research on articles I write.  I only have one notebook for my published articles; however, you can have as many notebooks in OneNote as you want – until you run out of space on your hard drive.  I then create a Section which is represented by a "tab" at the top of the notebook pages.  For example, for this article I have a tab titled "OneNote."  In that tabbed portion of my notebook I keep all of the information I have thought of and read about related to that tab. 

Next, I have created Pages which also have labels running down the right side of the notebook.  I have one labeled "Thoughts" which are the things I think about writing regarding OneNote.  I have another page titled, "Microsoft" which is information I have found about it at their site.    

When I am finished gathering information on a topic I open OneNote and write about what I have found.

OK, now for the best features of OneNote.  When I read a site that has information regarding something I want I can select text and drag it into a OneNote notebook page.  It copies it over exactly as it appears and adds a link to the webpage so that later I can click that link to return to the original site for more info.  Depending on which browser you use (everything is obviously built for Internet Explorer) you can send the entire webpage to OneNote.  This copies all of the text, graphics, and clickable links over, too. 

There is much more you can do with OneNote.  Along with typing you can draw diagrams, write in your own hand, insert spreadsheets or existing files, share notebooks for collaboration, email entire notebooks or just small portions, etc.  

If you gather anything for business or even recipes you find online you should really consider OneNote.  There are other similar apps online like Google Keep and Evernote but in my opinion none of them compare to the features available in OneNote. 

January 14, 2014

2013 Sites in Review, Part 2

This week I will continue with the second half of the links we talked about last year at DoubleClicks.info.

Remember, if the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them with bit.ly.  Here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

  • Dropboxbit.ly/aszzao.   A very good cloud storage app.  Use the supplied link to sign up and get more space.
  • Kill Diskkilldisk.com.  This application will totally wipe your drive clean so that it is almost impossible to retrieve deleted data.
  • Nexus 7 2013bit.ly/1esugJz.  My current favorite Android tablet. 
  • Hulu.com and Hulu.com/plus.  The very popular free and paid TV movie streaming apps. 
  • Google Musicplay.google.com/music.  Google’s free/paid (depending on what you want) music streaming plus you can upload your own music to it and listen anywhere you have internet connectivity.
  • BGCallwww.vieas.com/en.  A wallpaper changer which was less than adequate at the time I wrote about it.
  • Google Keepgoogle.com/keep.  A very good note taking app where you can add pictures, lists, texts and be alerted by them using the time or location of your mobile device.  I just hope Google does keep this one.
  • Recuvapiriform.com/recuva.  Did you accidentally empty the Recycle Bin and need a file back?  If so try this app which is one of the better ones for recovering deleted files.
  • Facebook.com and Twitter.com.  Two popular social web sites.
  • PayPal.com. A safe place to pay for online purchases.
  • Device ManagerAndroid.com/devicemanager.  How to locate, send an alert or wipe your data from your Android device(s).
  • Ubuntuubuntu.com.  Operating system which operates as well as Windows; however, this one is free. 
  • Join Mejoin.me.  A free application for individuals, which will allow you to log onto someone else’s computer, while they are there.  Great to use for helping and training.
  • Should I Remove Itshouldiremoveit.com.  A free app that will locate and remove unwanted programs including adware, toolbars, bloat-ware, crap-ware and other junk.
  • AniPet Aquariumbit.ly/anifree. A nice live wallpaper for Android devices. Also similar for Windows and OSX is Serene Screen at serenescreen.com. 
  • Glympseglympse.com and Waze.com.  A good and much better GPS navigation app for your mobile devices. 
  • Chromegoogle.com/chrome, Firefoxfirefox.com, Internet Explorer – search at Microsoft.com, Operaopera.com and Safariapple.com/safari.  The five most popular web browsers.
  • OpenOffice (openoffice.org) and LibreOffice (libreoffice.org) are two similar but excellent free replacements for Microsoft Office. 

I look forward to continuing the discussions about software, computers, the internet and all sorts of technology this year.  I hope that you, your families and friends have a great 2013 and continue to join me in the newspaper, on the radio and on the web! 

May 3, 2011

Filename Color Enigma

Several weeks ago I got an interesting email from Pat in Port Republic, about something I thought may affect many of my readers.  It also affects all Windows users at some time or another.

Pat essentially said that, "…in an attempt to speed-up my computer I ran the Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter programs."  So far this isn’t a problem and I heartily recommend that you all do both of these things on a fairly regular basis.  Perform these maintenance steps once a week, month, etc., depending on how often you use your computer.

Pat went on to say that when she turned on her computer the next morning  she found the color of some of the file names had been changed from black to blue text.

This is nothing new.  If  you notice your filenames have done the same thing don’t worry about it and go back to what you were doing before.  This has been going on in Windows for many years through many versions of the Windows Operating Systems.

Back around 2000 Windows switched its file system structure from FAT (File Allocation Tables) to NTFS (New Technology File System).  This provides, among other useful features, the ability to easily compress file sizes to save hard drive storage space.  When you compress a file in the NTFS structure it changes the color of the filename from…you guessed it, black to bright blue.

If you want to test it out do this.  Right click on a filename of a text or Word file. (This doesn’t work on audio files since the sounds/music could be corrupted.)  Next, click on "Properties".  If you aren’t already there click on the "General" tab and click on the "Advanced" button in the lower-right part of the window.  Now check, "Compress contents to save disk space".  Your file will compress and turn blue showing it has been completed.  You can also do this to all of the files that are in a folder.  Just right click the folder and follow the same directions.  If you right click a folder you will be asked if you wish to perform the compression on all of the files and folders in this main folder.

The wording may differ slightly depending on which version of Windows you have.

Do you need to perform this compression to be "on top" of things?  No.  I won’t worry with it and if you are really running out of space on your hard drive, buy a new one.  It isn’t too costly.  I saw a 2 TB hard drive for less than $80 a couple of weeks ago.

So basically, blue files are compressed files.  But Pat didn’t go through all the steps above.  How did her files get compressed?  Easy, when you run the Disk Cleanup utility and choose to "Compress old or rarely used files" or to, "Compress this drive to save disk space", you get compressed files with blue filenames.

Just ignore them since nothing is wrong.  If the color really bothers you, follow the same instructions above and uncheck, "Compress contents to save disk space".

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