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April 5, 2016

Windows 10 Tips, Part 1

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:48 am

Over the past several months I have received questions from readers asking how to do various things on Windows 10.  Some were quite interesting and some I thought could be useful to other new Windows 10 users.  Since sooner or later I believe we will all be “enjoying” what Windows 10 has to offer I thought I would review a few of them here.  Read last week’s column regarding the coming of W10… ready or not.

One of the things I am often asked is, “Even though the Menu is much better than Windows 8.1 how do I make it more like Windows 7?”

One of the most obvious differences is that the menu in W10 contains many “Live Tiles.”   I do not find them that useful and I have tried.  I feel they give minimal information I usually do not care about and take up a lot of screen space.

Resizing a Live TileYou have a couple of options to change the launch menu.  First, you can resize the live tiles if you wish to keep them but make them smaller.  Right click on the live tile you want to make smaller, then select “resize” and either small, medium, wide or large.  If you really want to get rid of them as I have done, right click on the live tile you want to remove and choose “Unpin from start.”  Easy as that.  You will have to do this to each one you want to remove.

Now you will have a large start menu that is really wide and empty if you remove all the tiles.  You can resize the entire start menu by hovering your mouse pointer at the edge of the menu.  After it is open, you will see a double headed arrow, click and drag to make it narrower or shorter.

If you have decided to keep any of the tiles you can also click them and drag them to different areas on the menu.

I get another common question about not being able to get to applications as quickly as in W7.  I would agree; however, there are a couple of things you can do that will help you out.  First thing is that you can click the start button and then, “All Apps” but you do not have to scroll down the list.  Try typing the name of the application you are looking for and it will usually appear at the top of the list.  If it is not first after you repeat this action a few times it will start rising to the top.

Click a letter to choose apps that start with it

Also, while you are in the all apps area you can click on any of the large letters and a list of all the letters will pop up.  Click the one the application starts with and you will see the app in the list.

One last one which defeats some of what you did in the menu sizing you did earlier, but I like this one.  In all apps find the application you use a lot and want to get to quickly.  Right click on it and choose “Pin to start.”  The application will now appear in the menu area where the live tiles were/are.  You can resize it as you did the other live tiles.

Pin to Start

November 19, 2013

Quick Launch Toolbar

When I repeatedly receive the same question, I tend to direct readers to previous columns.

However, this week I received a question from Elizabeth that others have asked about numerous times. Since it seems to be such a common issue, I will again address it, with a few changes and updates.

If you are a Windows 7 or 8 user and miss the Quick Launch Toolbar from the XP days, not all is lost. The Quick Launch Toolbar was an application easily accessible until Windows 7.

With Windows 7 and 8, the Quick Launch Toolbar is still present, but it’s hidden away. Here’s the step-by-step for those of you hoping to find it.

First, unlock your taskbar. Right click on the taskbar and choose “Toolbars” then “New Toolbar.”

A browser window will open up in which you can enter the location of the toolbar items you want to include. Use the following for the Quick Launch Toolbar in Windows 7:  “C:\Users\YOUR USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch.”

Windows 8 is slightly different, replace the previous step with, “YOUR USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch.”

After entering one of the above folder paths, the Quick Launch Toolbar will immediately appear on the right of your taskbar. To move it to the left, click the dotted lines and drag the toolbar to the left, if you previously unlocked the taskbar. If you skipped this step, the toolbar will not move. That is about the trickiest part of the set up.

Quick Launch Toolbar positioned on Taskbar

If you want to remove the text on the new Quick Launch Toolbar, follow these steps. Right click the dotted lines (at the left edge of the new toolbar) and uncheck “Show Text,” as well as “Show Title,” from the menu.

In case have forgotten how to use your old favorite, simply drag shortcuts to the Quick Launch Toolbar.

Web Folder opened via Quick Launch ToolbarThen, the programs will be added to the toolbar and will now, launch quickly when clicked. The icons may also be rearranged by dragging them around the Quick Launch Toolbar. You may even add folders that you often use to it, which is very hard to do with the taskbar.

I set this up every time I install Windows on a computer. Good luck and let me know how it works for you.

November 6, 2012

Another Windows 8 Article…

Windows 8 BoxWindows 8 is out and according to Microsoft it is, "Vibrant and beautiful."  Well the colors are very nice and it is faster.  It will work with a computer that previously ran Windows 7 and even run better and faster with less hardware requirements which is unusual for a new Operating System.  It also boots much more quickly.  The advertised boot time is about six seconds, but I found that mine was less than 10 seconds. That is still fantastic. 

Let’s take a look at some of the new features. 

Touchscreen is the latest tech feature to come along since the first iPhone rolled and now Windows 8 has it.  This is slick – on a touchscreen enabled computer which you will most likely have to buy since until now very few computers had it.  On the desktop "Tiles" are in and "Icons" are out.  Tiles are larger and are sometimes active. The weather tile updates continuously so you can see it without opening it unless you want to.

Windows 8 has exceptional cloud integration out of the box, meaning you can immediately open and save all of your files on your Microsoft "Sky Drive" off site and not on your hard drive.  This includes all of your Office files and various other types of files.

One thing I believe Microsoft should have done in several past Windows iterations is to include an anti-virus application in the operating system.  Windows 8 now has Windows Defender included in the default installation.  This includes anti-virus, anti-malware and other good features, at no additional charge.

Speaking about the charge…at this time MS is offering a special deal if you purchase Windows 8 before January 31, 2013.  The cost is $39.99 to download it or $69.99 to order the disks.  There are basically only two versions of Windows 8.  They are Windows 8 and the Pro version. Prices quoted are for Windows 8 Pro.  If you are going to buy it I recommend that you go for the Pro and forget the standard version.

You get Internet Explorer 10 with Windows 8 which seems to be quicker and "prettier" than the previous varieties.  When you open it, as with all of the new Windows 8 enabled GUI programs it takes the entire screen and most of your menu items disappear until you right click to bring them up.  This is a good thing; however, it may take some time to get used to the difference.

So if you have heard how horrible it is…well, it really is not.  However, for all the good it has it has several, in my opinion, major problems. 

The learning curve on it is huge.  The normal user will be lost as soon as it is installed. 

Ron's Windows 8 StartThe new GUI is nice.  However, when you use a program that was not designed for that GUI (Firefox for one) you get kicked back to a regular looking Windows 7 desktop…WHAT!?  Yes, Windows 8 has the Windows 7 desktop, which you can get to fairly easily but one major thing is missing, the START button, so you have to finagle your way into programs that used to be right on the start menu.

Some Windows 8 programs can only open in the Windows 7 desktop.  For instance, if you need to use Windows Explorer to copy files from one folder to another you get kicked over to the Windows 7 desktop to open Explorer to copy your files.  Why not stay in the Windows 8 environment?  It almost looks to me as though they did not quite finish developing part of the system. 

imageI think it would make an excellent operating system for a tablet or a PC with touchscreen capabilities; however, if you are not ready to purchase a new computer I do not recommend switching.  I will not but I will run it in a virtual environment to watch for changes and to be able to answer questions from some of you brave souls who do switch.  

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