About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

June 30, 2015

Windows 10, Part 2

Last week we looked at Windows 10 requirements and a few other housekeeping tasks regarding getting it for free.  Today a few questions I have received about it for the last several weeks are answered.Windows 10 logo

First, why is it free for the first year?  The main reason seems to be that Microsoft wants everyone using it.  The money they once made on OS sales has continued to drop over recent years.  Apple stopped charging for upgrades to their OS several years ago.  And as always the Linux operating systems, (mainly Ubuntu) have been free since their inception; though used by few. 

They will even be rolling it out to users with pirated (read illegal) copies of those qualifying versions of Windows. However, these versions will still be unregistered. I do not believe there has been any clarification as to what that means for the users.  MS just wants everyone in the world on Windows.

I have been using W10 for a month or so now and have a few thoughts about it.  You will probably wonder if you should opt to get it for free or not.  I would suggest if you are a normal user, i.e., not a geek like me, you may want to wait for month or two after the original roll out.  The main reason being that some things will most likely have to be ironed out during the first few weeks of the OS.  This is standard.  So wait and get it after all the news stories are over.

Next, will you like it?  I think that for those who loved Windows 7, you will most likely appreciate 10 and for those who hated Windows 8.1, you will most probably like this version. 

The much hated Metro screen is gone.  And yes, the Start Menu from W7 is back as in the past, plus it has a few of the "Live Tiles" on the right side.  Those tiles can be rearranged, added, deleted, etc. so you can pretty much do with them as you would like.  In the test version, you could not totally remove them all but rumors abound for the final version in July.

MSIE 11 to MS Edge logosAnother big change is the default web browser.  Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) has been around for 20 years.  When W8 was released MSIE was, and is, at version 11.  However, this all changes with W10, it has been rebuilt from the bottom up and will been known then as "Microsoft Edge."

Edge has "Page Annotation" built-in meaning you can write notes on a web page with your mouse, or finger if you have a touchscreen device, then you can save the graphics and/or send them in emails, Facebook, Tumbler or any other social network. Also, "Reading Mode" is in Edge which allows you to read a web page more like a magazine.  It will remove ads, extraneous graphics and other junk from the page which does not pertain specifically to the article you are reading.  This is available in other browsers now, but Edge is catching the MS browser up with features offered by others in the past. 

Add info to a web page

More to come next week.

August 28, 2012

Windows Tips & Tricks, a great site for coding and statistical information, does a monthly poll on the main operating systems used today and the percentages of users taking advantage of each system.  For July, 2012 it rolls out like this:  Windows 7-53.8%, Vista-3.4%, Microsoft NT-1.2%, Windows XP-26.1%, Linux-4.9% and Mac-8.2%.

W3Schools Stats

It is obvious that Microsoft is currently the ruler of the OS kingdom but of course this could always change.  However, I doubt it will anytime in the near future.  It is also no surprise that the majority of the questions I get involve Windows 7.

I receive a multitude of questions regarding, "How do I…?"  You can fill in the blank.  So today we will take a look at some useful and yet many times overlooked Windows 7 tips.

Here are a few useful keys which help you navigate around the main Windows 7 desktop. First, find the Windows Key (which I will abbreviate "W" in the following commands.)  It is the key located on the lower left corner of your keyboard between the CTRL (Control) and ALT (Alternate) keys.  The majority of the time it will have the Microsoft Windows logo on it.

Now open any program on your computer. Let’s use Internet Explorer for an example. Now press ‘W + Left Arrow‘ key (all four arrow keys are usually located in the central bottom area of your keyboard.)  What happened?  It is now somewhere to the right of where it was previously.  Try it again until it makes its final resting place on the right half of your screen.  Now press ‘W + Up Arrow’.    Yes, it is now maximized.  Try all of the arrow keys. Only one makes me mad.  After you play with them a minute see if you agree with me.  Yes, the one that bugs me is the W + Down Arrow.  Depending on where the window is located on the screen this causes it to minimize.  That is great in itself; however, there is no key board maneuvering that will bring it back up. You will have to use your mouse.

My Computer when putting this article online

Now try ‘W + M.’ Yes, you have now minimized all of your open windows.  Good job!  To bring them back you can use your mouse.  I have one question about all of the slick minimization capabilities:  Why not have a key to bring an app back to its original or maximized size?  Oh well, they didn’t ask me in the first place.

Next, if you are one of the many, many windows users who have several programs opened at one time and want to "clean up" your window try ‘W + Home’ key.  This key combo minimizes and then restores all of your open windows except for the currently active one.  Slick!  To bring them back try it again…poof!  There they are, back where they started.  You must be able to see more than one program at the same time on your monitor to see this work.

Now back to my headache of having all of your programs minimized.  Try this one, ‘W + Tab‘ key, tap the tab key without releasing the Windows key.  This will surprise you if you have not used it before.  You will get a rotating "arc" of all currently open programs on your computer, along with the empty desktop.  Let go of the keys when the one you want to use is at the front of the arc.  Now add one more finger to the trick, try ‘W + Shift + Tab’ and tap the Tab key.  Let me know what you get.  I will see you back here next week.

October 25, 2011

Windows 7 Taskbar Tricks

Cassie from Winchester wrote and asked me about Windows 7 and how to pin tasks to the taskbar.  She went on to ask about Jump Lists.  I was surprised in that these are very beneficial for Windows 7 users and I had not written about them before.  I remember when W7 first came out and everyone in the world was writing about it.  I decided not to discuss it at length since not many people had it at that time.  Since time has passed I figure many of you are now using W7 and would like some tips. 

First, what is pinning a task?  If you look at the bottom of the W7 screen you will see a Taskbar which is almost identical to the previous versions.  The taskbar has several programs "pinned" to it when you first get your computer such as Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer.  You can add or remove any program on your computer to the taskbar as you wish.  

Taskbar Bubble When you hover your mouse over these icons you will get diverse notices at different times.  If the program is not opened you will get a text "bubble" showing the name of the program. 
If you hover your mouse pointer over the icons when the program is running (this presupposes the graphics capability of your computer is older) you will get a text bubble.  This bubble shows the name of the file or the website name which is currently open in the program.  If there are several "pages" open in that application you will see a list of the names.  To go to any of them just click the one you want to see and it will open to the top of your screen.  

Thumbnail viewHowever, if you have a newer computer with a better graphics card, you will get a "thumbnail" of the page that is open in the program.  If you have multiple pages open you will see a thumbnail of each one, depending on the program.  As before, click on the one you wish to see.  I currently have three sites open in my browser so I see three thumbnails. 

Next, if you knew about the previous tricks, have you tried right clicking on an opened Taskbar optionsprogram’s icon?  I will use Microsoft Word for my example.  When I right click on the Word icon a "jump list" pops up.  Each program may show a few choices but they are basically the same.  In this example, mine shows Recent, (shows the last documents I have opened in Word)  and three options for that program.  The options are usually the name of the program which will open another "session" of that program, "Unpin {or Pin} this program from taskbar" which will remove (unpin) or add (pin) the program’s icon from the taskbar, (obviously) and "Close window" which allows you to close the program from the taskbar.   

Oops, I just ran out of room.  Next week, we’ll look at how to add programs to the taskbar and talk more about jump lists.

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