DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

August 9, 2016

Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:18 am

If you have not heard, Microsoft has discontinued the free upgrade to Windows 10.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update

For those of you that waited due to, “Oops, I forgot” I am sorry for your loss.  Loss of $119 at least.  For those of you that will never give up because of all the issues with Windows 10 — I am also sorry.  Not for the $119 loss, since you knew that would come but sorry that you will not get to enjoy it…until you purchase a new PC.

Of course, you are not alone.  MS shoots to have everyone on Windows 10 but the reality is different.  Looking at all computers in use around the world, W10 is on 21.13% while Windows 7 is still in the lead with 47.01%.  If you care, the breakdown continues as W8.x at 9.17%, XP is 10.34% and finally Mac is in last place of the big boys at 4.69%.  The others that total to 100% are Linux and “Others” that are not used very often.  So basically about one out of every five PCs are running Windows 10 as of August 1st.

All that being said on August 2nd, Microsoft began rolling out the “Windows 10 Anniversary Update”, woohoo!  It is also known as the 1607 update (for the anniversary of 07/16).  It included many changes most of which are on the backend where you will not notice much.  There were some interface changes but minimal.

One change you will notice right off is that the Start Menu has changed.  The entire list of applications now starts directly under the Recently Added and Suggested apps.  From there you can scroll down or you may still click on one of the letter labels to choose the app you want.

The Action Center button has moved to the right side of the time in the Taskbar instead of being on the left as it was before…I have no idea why.  An interesting change which I entirely approve of is if you have set up your email and calendar in Windows 10, including Gmail, when you click the time on the taskbar you will see your scheduled agenda under the time, date and calendar.

Also, if you are an Edge browser user there has been a major change.  You can now add extensions like Google Chrome, Firefox and other browsers have had for a long time. Extensions allow you to do other things with your browser other than surf the net.  Like Adblock, Evernote, Pinterest and others.  Although, there are not many they are being created often now.  When Windows 10 started a year ago there were basically none.

You will be invited to download and install the Anniversary Update when you have your next Windows update.  Mine hit on August 4th so it installed it two days after the rollout.  It was flawless but I would plan on a couple of hours to complete the download and installation, which includes several reboots.  All of it is automatic once you start the first reboot.

Good luck for all you PC users out there whether XP, 7, 8.1 or 10. I hope no one is still dealing with Vista or Millennium!

February 23, 2016

Can I Delay the Inevitable?

I have had several people email recently who had issues after a Windows 10 update.  I have had a couple of small issues too; however, they went away after an extra reboot.  So the old tech query remains when you have problems, "Did you restart your system?" 

In previous versions of Windows OS you could tell Windows to let you decide when to download and install updates; however, not so with 10.  If you are a home user you are at the mercy of Microsoft when you get system updates. 

It could be when you are in the middle of writing a column (like I am now) and everything slows down…to a crawl which just happened to me.  I type and letters appear a few beats after I press the keys.  I open my browser to check something on the internet and the browser takes forever to open, well at least 30 seconds or more.  You know what I mean, you have experienced it also.

This slowdown is sometimes caused by the download of the files for the update.  They will be downloaded to your computer when MS says they are ready.  MS and the geeks that are "Windows Insiders" test the new updates and say all is well and you get them, ready or not.  So the sometimes massive updates start and your computer slows downs. Once they are downloaded they are installed. 

Some people like to wait for a while to make sure the updates are not causing complications for others before they install them. Some advanced users only want to install specific updates.  But users other than Enterprise users (corporately licensed with Microsoft) have no option…or do you?

There are actually several geeky ways to get around this.  But MS has provided a way which is not advertised too much.  Keep in mind before we start, I do not suggest you stop Windows Updates.  If you do you will have major problems.  WARNING:  This is manual meaning that you have to do things for yourself – it is not automated too much. 

wushowhide iconIt is a standalone "trouble shooting" package from MS appropriately named, "Show or hide updates."  The shortened link is rd.dblclx.com/1XpVqHN.  The download will be named, "wushowhide.diagcab" or "wushowhide" depending on your system.  Double click it and it will start with nothing being installed.  That is the standalone part.  It just runs and nothing is added to your system. 

Follow along with the instructions and it will search for current updates, then list the ones it finds.  Click the ones you do not want to install even if it is all of them.  You then click next and they are hidden and not installed.

Start Search       Searching       Choose to hide or unhide specific updates

When you are ready to install them, run the app again and unhide the ones you hid before.  Finish it, run Windows update and all is well.

Several words of warning here.  You should be aware that if you go too long between updates you could be opening your system up to problems.  So unhide them and run them at least a month or so after you hide them. 

July 28, 2015

Emailed Questions, Part 2

Last week I mentioned Chromebooks and Antivirus software.  Today in continuing with sharing emails and answers we look at the following questions.

"How often do you run Windows Update, defrag, cleaning, and other computer maintenance?" Wow, huge question with a multitude of answers.  First I suggest for most users you should set windows updates to run automatically.  With Windows 10 your only choice may be to have it automatically update, there are varying reports.  If you now run the update manually they come out on "Patch Tuesday."  Or, the second Tuesday of each month.  So you are good to run your update any time after that.  I would recommend you do it each month for security reasons if no other.

Defragging and cleaning really depend on how often you use your computer.  I have also recommended here before that you use CCleaner (piriform.com) for cleaning/removing old files and refreshing your registry. It is an excellent program.  For defragging I recommend another Piriform product called "Defraggler," found on the same site under "Downloads." 

Piriform logo

The timing for these is really up to you since it depends on how much you use your computer.  For a heavy user like me who can spend eight hours a day at work and then an hour or two several times a week at home, I run them every week or so.  If you only go online once a day to check email and Facebook for an hour, once a month or so is fine.  Longer will not hurt you and the more often you run them the quicker they work.  Defragging takes the longest so if you have never defragged before it could take overnight or more depending on the size of your hard drive.

One word of warning about defragging.  If you have a SSD drive and not a regular "platter" drive you should not run defrag.  It will not kill it; however, I have read reports that they will not last as long if you do. 

Maintenance other than those mentioned above is as follows:  Make sure you run your antivirus software regularly.  If you have a free one, as I told you about last week, you may have to do it manually.  To do so you usually right click on the software’s icon in your notification area and click update.  Applications can vary so check yours and proceed. 

Malwarebytes logoThe other two applications I have talked about before but are quite important are, "Malwarebytes" (malwarebytes.org) Filehippo logoand "FileHippo App Manager" (filehippo.com/download_app_manager).  I have talked about them in detail before but I do not feel like mentioning them again is too much.  The new improved version of FileHippo is even better and easier to use.

See you next week.

May 19, 2015

PC Spring Cleaning, Part 3

The last two weeks we looked at some of the ways you need to physically clean your computer for spring or any other time of the year.

Today we will clean your computer’s software.

First, make sure that you are regularly checking your Operating Systems upgrades, i.e. HaWindows 7, 8.1, etc.  Yes, you may have it set to automatically run updates; however, you need to make sure you have the latest every now and then.  Check your update settings by going to Start and typing, "Windows Update," then clicking the "Change Settings."  Check the appropriate choices.  They will make sense to you.  If not, Google for a description.  Mine is set to check for important updates, but let me choose to download and install, give me recommended updates and finally, give me updates for other MS updates.  I am comfortable with those choices but you may not be. Change them and nothing will hurt you, unless you never update.

Windows Update

The funny thing is there is no choice to download and install optional updates.  To get all offered updates for your devices, occasionally check Windows Update for all available updates, including optional updates. I always install those too; however, that is your choice.  This is why you should manually run Windows Updates monthly.  I also suggest you do this after the second week of the month due to, "Patch Tuesday."  Patch Tuesday occurs on the second, and sometimes fourth, Tuesday of each month in North America.  This is when Microsoft sends out all of the items for download to your system for updates.  Wait until after that time and you will get them all.

All of your other software is harder to update but you should take a stab at it on occasion.  You could check most every application you have on your computer by opening the app, going to "Help" then either "Check for Updates" or "About" which is where they are usually found.  Then run the recommended update.

There are also several applications you can get to check your other applications’ updates.  However, none of them are perfect.  I regularly compare several of the main ones and usually get varying results.

  • FileHippo App Manager (filehippo.com) – the one I use most often and is quick and easy. Use the "Download our free app manager" link only.Kaspersky Software Updater (kaspersky.com/free-tools) – good and can be set to run on a schedule of your choosing.
  • Secunia PSI (secunia.com/psi) – I have used this the longest, if you run the scan manually it takes a good while. It also appears to search more apps than the others.
  • SUMo (kcsoftwares.com) – finds many apps; however is the hardest to use of all I have tested.
  • Update Notifier (cleansofts.org) – a simple one but still finds many. Check settings to not get beta updates. 

I ran all of these as well as a couple of others today.  I got varying results and none of them match.  So I guess you could run all of them for better coverage.  I alternate between FileHippo (quick and thorough) and Secunia (slow but very thorough) but they both find apps the other one misses…go figure.

FileHippo

Secunia-PSI

January 20, 2015

Updating Your Apps

I know you are all running Windows Update on your PCs.  Well, let me back off a bit on that.  If you have Windows 7 or before you should be running it manually or setting it to run automatically.  Windows 8 on comes with the default for Windows Update to automatically run so you do not have to worry about it.  What it does is check for and install updates to Microsoft Windows and possibly Office (depending on your version and configuration).  That way you are always operating at greatest efficiency and more securely in Windows.

Five years ago someone wrote asking me for ways to make sure all of their non-Microsoft applications were running the latest versions.  I told you about, “Secunia PSI“.  This application scans many of your applications in the background and recommends when updates are available.  It does a pretty good job; however, in my opinion, it is a bit clunky and more difficult to use than one I discovered several months ago.  Search for the old article on DoubleClicks.info if you are interested.

The one I use now is called “FileHippo App Manager” and is smoother and easier to operate. There are a couple of things you should be aware of on the installation.  First is that when you go to the link above there are two green “Download” links.  Use the one in the upper right side of the page which says, “Download latest version.”  As it installs it will ask you some general questions.  I would uncheck, “Run at startup.”  Many programs want to do this but it will slow your computer down.

FileHippo Scan Screen

FileHippo Scan Screen

When it is complete double click the blue icon on your desktop for FileHippo.  A small box will pop up showing it is running.  After a few moments your browser will open with (I’m guessing here) a long list of applications needing updates.  You can click on them one at a time, download them and install their updates.  Once finished you may close your browser and the FileHippo box will still be on your screen.  Click the “X” in the upper right hand corner and it will close.

Sample screen from FileHippo App Manager

Sample screen from FileHippo App Manager

Not every program on your computer is checked by this program.  However, neither Secunia nor the others I have tested in the past get them all.  There are just too many programs for one app to catch every one.

Have fun updating some apps and look forward to getting the final, “Congratulations!  Your computer is up-to-date!” message from FileHippo App Manager.

February 2, 2010

Help with Application Updates

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:22 am

I got an email from a reader in Mt. Crawford over a month ago asking an excellent question.  They wanted to know if there was a way to keep all of their programs up to date, keeping the latest version always on their system.

In talking back and forth with them we came to the conclusion that there should be something on the market that was similar to “Windows Update”.  WU comes with all versions of Microsoft windows as all of my readers should know.  It allows you to check and see if there are any new versions of your MS products that need updating.  If there are, it allows you to update them so that you can stay ahead of the curve.

After a little Googling and searching I found a program called Secunia-PSI.  I have no idea what “Secunia” means but PSI is for “Personal Software Inspector”.  This program does almost everything the reader wanted.  I have been testing it for a little over a month and it seems to work very well.

Visit Secunia-PSIYou can go to secunia.com to read about and download the personal edition of the application.  There are actually three different versions of Secunia.  They are OSI (Online), PSI (Personal) and CSI (Corporate).  I tried the OSI and it was adequate but does not look for as many programs as the PSI and CSI versions.  The CSI version is really for the corporate environment and home users do not need it.  All three are here: bit.ly/bx3f5u.

All versions are free but I recommend downloading/installing the PSI version which seems to  be very thorough.  You will find it in the middle of the three on the page recommended above.

The default setting for Secunia runs in the background all the time checking your computer’s software for updates.  I leave it like that on my desktop since I have loads of memory. However, for my netbook I just run it once a week or so.

I pride myself in always keeping all of my software up to date, so let’s take a look at how my three computers faired after being scanned by Secunia.

My netbook scored 100% as all of my software was up-to-date, yeah!

My notebook didn’t do as well.  There were four applications that weren’t up to standards.  But I still did better than 15% of users in Virginia; Secunia gives you this info if you register the product.  (free)

Now my pride and joy, my desktop computer…oops, I had 11 applications that were not where they should be.  I spent about an hour uninstalling some old versions which Secunia advised me to do, before I updated them.  I also downloaded some of the new versions from the links provided by Secunia.  And I learned a valuable lesson, as the bible says, “Pride goes before destruction.”

Now, let’s look at  a couple of drawbacks.  It indicated that all three browsers on my system were insecure and needed updates.  They are MSIE, Firefox and Google Chrome.  Come on, give me a break!  They were all updated and as secure as possible.  I guess it wanted me to uninstall all three of them. Of course, then my surfing the net time would be cut down considerably.  I decided to ignore those threats.  You can always make rules to ignore certain warnings.

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