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su 16 au 15

03:11pm: We've done two backups, one to a USB drive and one to the NAS, taken a deep calming breath and about to start a Windows 10 upgrade on the main desktop here ...

05:30pm: Windows 10 installed, fairly painless though a number of forced power offs have been needed.  Nothing that different from Windows 7 but still having to find our way round ...

fr 31 jl 15

Ah, there isn't a free Windows 10 upgrade for Vista ...

th 30 jl 15

Windows 10Windows 10 installed at second attempt.  It looks very flat and simple as is the fashion these days perhaps because it works better on a smartphone, a new browser named Edge no doubt without the definite article to prevention confusion with people called David, a thing called WiFi-Sense to manage and protect your wireless connections, and an impressive weather app which includes historical data.

We're going to try updating a Vista laptop that actually is Vista next.

we 29 jl 15

Windows 1011:25am: Waiting for the free Windows 10 upgrade on a Vista laptop, of course everything has decided to update itself to confuse the issue ... PC Tips

02:25pm: Vista laptop finally updated despite Windows Upgrade's determination to install some Windows 7 upgrades ... no sign of Windows 10 won't hold our breath.

02:44pm: Ah, just found the Windows 10 download directory on the Vista laptop so the download has started ...

04:44pm: Three gig downloaded in the last three hours and still at it ...

05:29pm: The download seems to have completed at 5.2 gig but no email confirmation ...

05:40pm: The laptop seems to be Windows 7 I would have sworn it was Vista ...

08:50pm: Still no email but we tickled the install to start but it then failed with error 80240020.  The Microscoft fix for this is to download again ... see you tomorrow.

th 23 jl 15

PC TipsFile search by datee ~ pic courtesy of MicroscoftWhen we're searching for a mislaid file we often find that the file date is a quick way to find it.  Clicking in the Search Libraries text window will prompt a dropdown, click on Date modified: and a calendar for the current month will appear.  What it's taken us time to find is click on the month at the top of the calendar and the months of the year appear; click on the year at the calendar top and more years appear.

th 22 ja 15

Microsoft Windows 10 is due this year.  (April?  Hold your breath?)  PC TipsDespite the Beeb getting a mild stiffy over augmented reality and the speech interface Cortana, surely the most relevant news for Win 7 and Win 8 users is the upgrade will be free for them during the first year of release.

mo 28 jl 14

PC TipsYou've got a laptop and smartphone, the laptop is logged in so you know the username and password but strangely they won't work on the smartphone.  Log out on the laptop, confirm that caps lock is off and log back in again.  If you can't log back in then you don't know the username and password do you don't.

th 22 my 14

PC TipsChildren eh?  Little Mutterings matriarch Stephanie Trews has been emailed snaps of the step-grandchildren Olaf and Pixie-Dixie at theirtelephone box in a large town pre-forestry school near Oslo but Stephanie doesn't know how to print them out.  Try pointing at a pic Steph and right clicking the mouse (the other button), reckon a menu should pop up including Print, look forward to seeing the pix in the telephone box when ... PC Catchpole unlocks it.

fr 25 ap 14

PC TipsMany thanks ntc – Have now got both ReadyBoost and Back Up on new USB stick with still a third of it's memory left! – So I leave it permanently plugged in and both functions go on automatically with no further input from me!  Brilliant and all for an outlay of £5.80!! - C

fr 24 ap 14

PC TipsIn Windows Vista and later there's a clever little go faster tweakReadyBoost tab using a usb memory stick or similar, plug it in, find it in Windows Explorer, right click on it, click on Properties, select tab ReadyBoost and then click either Dedicate this device ... or Use this device.  Windows now has more fast access cache memory so it will need to access the slower hard disc less.  We've found three gotchas:

1. ReadyBoost won't play with older, slower memory sticks,

2. your memory stick will mostly likely be formatted FAT32 file system limiting how much of the stick can be used by ReadyBoost, reformat it exFAT, and

3. when your pc restarts it may try to boot from the memory stick, change the device boot order by pressing what ever is the magic key at start up on your machine.

mo 24 jn 13

PC TipsAs we all know nothing is important or interesting unless it's been on telly so having seen the adverts weTuneUp 2013 tried PC Matic.  Reasonably fast download, install and ten minutes to run before advising us of a modest 47 problems and 4 advisories one of which was to upgrade (not update) Windows ... but to do anything about it 30 quid was wanted.  TuneUp 2013 also costs £30 but gives you a free 15 day trial.  It took for ever to run on a desktop, reported 1,000s and 1,000s of errors and took forever to  fix them.  We rebooted, run again and though quicker it still took its time before reporting just 1,000s of errors.  In the end we do think the pc was running a little faster.  Bottom line?  Thirty quid?

th 16 my 13

PC TipsWe still use Office 2000 because we don't need to schedule meetings with multiple yesMicrosoft Compatibility Pack persons and it doesn't have online activation so we can just keep on loading it up.  Annoyingly recent Office versions default to the docx Word format.  Office 2000 doesn't recognise docx but Microscoft have a Compatibility Pack so it will.  As well as Office 2000 here we have Outlook 2007 because the Blackberry won't recognise 2000, when we installed the Compatability Pack it seemed to think it was upgrading Office 2007 and after installation Word 2000 still couldn't recognise docx.  Running repair on the Pack in Add or Remove Programs inexplicably did the job.  Now we can read those irritating attachments that should be in the body of your press release ... just saying.

we 24 ap 13

PC TipsToshiba leading innovation >>>In our experience the thing most likely to fail on your pc is the hard disc and when it does not only do you loose the family photos but possibly the operating system too.  When you buy a computer you almost always pay for a licence to use the installed Windows.  The Windows software may be supplied on a cd but it might also be on a separate partition on the hard disc, in that case lose the hard disc lose Windows.  We've just paid Toshiba £30 for a disc to recover a netbook, bloody annoying when the owner has already paid once for Windows.  Moral: Use the manufacturer's software to make a safety copy of the operating system and drivers.

th 11 ap 13

PC TipsCCleaner Startup editorUnder All Programs you'll find the folder Startup where you or installer software have put progs to run when Windows starts.  There's another whole bunch of stuff that loads at start up slowing things down and which isn't at easy to get at.  Freebie CCleaner now has under Tools a very handy Startup editor.  The bad news is it's often not clear what the progs listed do so perhaps firstly Disable and restart to try before Delete to prevent tears before bedtime.

fr 21 ja 11

PC TipsPerhaps obvious that you can restore a deleted pic/doc/file Recycle bin propertiesfrom the recycle bin as long as subsequently arriving stuff hasn't forced it out of the bottom ... so to speak ... sorry, reading Julian Clary's autobiog.  Less obviously emptying the recycle bin is only a temporary fix to creating more space on the hard disc as it will just fill up again.  A more useful ploy is to reduce the bin size, though this will make you more vulnerable the default 10% of the hard disc does seem overly cautious.  Right click on the recycle bin icon, select Properties, adjust the slider and click OK.

mo 3 ja 11

PC TipsFor reasons best known to Microscoft (possibly going back to DOS when hard discs were more unreliable) over time files end up split up and scattered over your hard disc (fragmented) slowing things down as the hard disc heads have to jump about to read a file.  Speed things up by periodicallydfrg.msc running the defrag utility.  Defrag usually lives in Start/Accessories/System Tools but if it's gone missing then whilst holding down the Windows key press R then type dfrg.msc in the Open: box, don't necessarily believe it when Analyze says you don't have to defrag.

we 8 se 10

PC TipsDead easy to set one of your pix as the desktop.  Go to My Pictures, point at a pic and then click the right mouse button, on the menu that opens click Set as Desktop Background.  Display PropertiesIf the pic is significantly smaller than the screen resolution the pic will repeat (Tile) to fill the screen otherwise it's stretched to fill and judging by the desktops you showed us last year that's how you like it.  Me?  I find a full picture makes it difficult to see the shortcut icons.  Try this, you might like it, point at an unoccupied bit of the desktop, click the mouse right button, click Properties, click the Desktop tab ,set Position to Center and click OK... don't like it?  Ok then, put things back the way they were:)

mo 16 au 10

PC TipsType in the font sizeWhen using Word to print a series of A4 sheets to make up for example S/A/L/E, F/E/T/E or L/Y/N/C/H/I/N/G you might find that the pull down font sizes doesn't go big enough.  Don't panic you just type in a font size ... and the next one rrrright in here please!

su 1 au 10

PC TipsAvoid appearing a semi-literate paper pusher by NOT separating Paragraph windowparagraphs with a blank line.  Instead point at the paragraph in Word with your mouse, click the right mouse button and then select Paragraph.  In the new window that appears set Spacing/After to say 6 and then click OK.  Job done and what's more when you create a new paragraph by pressing return the new paragraph will inherit the settings from the previous paragraph.

we 23 jn 10

PC TipsIf you point your mouse at an unoccupied part of the right click on the taskbar menutaskbar (that bar along the bottom) and click the right mouse button this menu appears.  You might want to unlock the taskbar.  Why?  By pointing at the top of the taskbar and then dragging you can change the height of the taskbar, by pointing at an unoccupied part of the taskbar and dragging you can really confuse yourself by moving the task bar to the side or top of the screen but most important you can now change the size of the quick launch.  Haven't got the quick launch enabled?  You should have.

sa 9 my 09

On your pc is a hidden file called the registry containing info about the the pc setup and the applications.  As time goes by this registry fills up with redundant and sometimes wrong info slowing down your pc because it takes the operating system longer to search the reg to find what it needs.  Perhaps you've encountered on the modern miracle of the interweb very generous invitations to a free registry scan?  Typical results are 2,345,612 errors in your regEusing registry cleaner and if you don't fix them your children will die or you'll be extradited by the US Committee for Homeland Security (they're a bit like your local council ... but more forgiving).  The free scan offers to save you and your children for a mere $19.95

Eusing actually is a free registry cleaner (it does have nag screen) which is impressively small and tight and does what it says ... though despite fixing over 2,000 errors on this machine it didn't seem to significantly speed it up whereas the visual effects demon tweak did.

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