Archive for General advice – Page 2

Windows 10 Edge and Internet Explorer – More Adverts on their Way

More Windows 10 adverts

With the amount of information passed back to Microsoft in Windows 10, such as the ‘Advertising ID’ feature, many people expected that they would use that data at some point – after all Windows 10 was given away free for a whole year. It now seems that the data has begun to be cashed in.

The latest Windows 10 ‘Creators Update’ will bring various changes as described in our previous Blog article here but it seems that the Update will also be pushing more adverts toward users, through the Edge browser, Internet Explorer and even File Explorer.

When opening Edge, “Where to next” is displayed and now there will be so-called “Sponsored” adverts too. When opening both Edge and IE you will also see a ‘Top Sites & News Feed’ tab with these ads – not just for Microsoft products but for third party products too.

File Explorer (previously known as Windows Explorer) has already displayed some adverts for Microsoft Office and similar products from Microsoft, but people are now also seeing third party adverts in this too – in an essential and basic Windows tool that everyone uses and where you wouldn’t normally expect it.

Of course, it’s no surprise that any company would want to make money from advertising, but this is essentially the start of Windows becoming a monetising product for its makers, when previously it was an Operating System only. It may also be Microsoft just testing the water.

You may not be bothered about the level of adverts or suggestions/nags, but if you are, what can you do if you don’t want ads popping up all over the place?

Stopping Ads in File Explorer

Open File Explorer > View > Options. Go to the View tab and look in Advanced Settings section – uncheck ‘Show sync provider notifications’, then click OK.

Stopping Advertisement App Suggestions

If you don’t want ‘suggested’ apps appearing in your Start Menu, go to Settings > Personalisation > Start and switch off ‘Occasionally show suggestions in Start’.

Stopping Ads on the Lock Screen

Yes, even before you log in! Go to Settings > Personalisation > Lock Screen and set the background as ‘Slideshow’ or ‘Picture’ instead of ‘Windows Spotlight’.

Also, go to the bottom of the window and disable ‘Get fun facts, tips, and more from Windows and Cortana on your lock screen’.

Stopping Cortana Nagging You

Cortana the personal assistant tries to help users – sometimes a little too much – with constant popups making suggestions that sometimes end up just getting more annoying than useful.

Click Cortana bar > Settings icon and go to ‘Let Cortana pipe up from time to time with thoughts, greetings, and notifications in the Search box’. Disable ‘Taskbar Tidbits’.

Stopping the ‘Get Office’ Nags

A ‘Get Office’ app is automatically installed and which regularly makes a suggestion that you try Office 365 free for a month – but you may not want it to keep on asking.

Go to Settings > System > Notifications & Actions, scroll down a bit and switch off notifications for the “Get Office” app. Alternatively, you could also right-click the app on your Start Menu and select ‘Uninstall’.

Solitaire Ads

Windows still has the built-in Solitaire game, but you also get a 30-second advert unless you pay Microsoft $10 a year. If you don’t want to pay, you will have to get an alternative via a search engine – but be careful where you download from.

These are just a few ways to reduce the advert clutter from your Windows 10 Creators Update computer. No doubt things will change in the future and there may even be more adverts as well as more premium content along the lines of the Solitaire game, but only time will tell.

If you would like help in de-cluttering your computer, give us a call on 01455 209505.

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How Many Good Battery Habits Do You Have?

Extending your battery life

Batteries are rarely talked about – until they’re drained – then we’ll tell everyone as we beg desperately for a charger, hoping to get enough juice to last the day. The truth is, they’re a miracle of engineering that gets taken for granted and cursed when flat.

When repairing customer laptops we often hear the phrase “the battery died after a year or so” and that was certainly the case with the older type batteries. Luckily battery technology has gone a lot further and Lithium-Ion batteries are the main battery of choice today, together with longer lifespan and longer useful working charge.

If it feels like your battery is running out faster, you might be right. But it’s not because of ‘battery memory’ and needing to be cycled (that’s an older battery type called NiMh), it’s because the modern Lithium-Ion batteries in phones and laptops just simply wear out over time or get affected by heat. Fortunately, extending your battery life is easier than you think!

Which of the following GOOD battery habits do you have?

Charge whenever you can:

Lithium-ion batteries don’t like being charged all the way up and then drained all the way down. No wonder, it even sounds exhausting. Give them a little charge here and there, and they’ll be happy.

Leave your laptop plugged in:

You are very unlikely to over-charge the modern battery, it will just sit there waiting to be used. The laptop also helps out by cutting the flow of power when the battery registers as fully charged.

Watch for overheating:

Your laptop battery won’t overcharge, but it may overheat. You might also consider removing the battery if you’re using your laptop plugged in all the time. Yes, you might lose data if there’s a power outage, but overheating is a far more common occurrence and it’s been proven to degrade battery life considerably. Check your vents are clear with good airflow, and if necessary, help it out with a cooling laptop stand.

Leave your phone plugged in all night:

Just like your laptop, your charger knows to stop when the battery is full. Those chargers do generate heat though, so make sure you have enough airflow around both charger and phone, and never cover them up with anything.

Charge batteries before storing:

If you’re one of the lucky few with backup batteries, make sure to give them a half charge before storing. They’ll naturally discharge and age over time, so this gives them a fighting chance to still be viable when you need them.

Keep your cool:

We know to avoid water with our phones, but we’re less careful about exposing it to heat. This includes leaving it in your car all day, placing it on top of your PC, or even in a sunny spot by the window.

Wireless and rapid chargers can also be an issue, as the amount of heat they generate will affect your battery.

Keeping your Lithium-Ion battery happy is easier than you think. Your battery will wear out over time, but you can push that day a few years into the future if you remember to keep it charged and keep it cool.

Having battery issues? We can help! Call us at 01455 209505.

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5 Ways to Extend the Life of your Laptop

Entend your laptops life

Laptop computers are one of the most fragile pieces of tech you’ll ever buy, but they also receive the roughest treatment. From the sensitive flat screen inside the lid to the spinning hard drive, there are components inside your laptop that do not take too kindly to excess vibration or pressure.

Extend your laptop’s life with these five easy tips.

Avoid sharp movements during use:

While some newer laptops have an SSD drive with no moving parts, many laptops still have mechanical drives which work a bit like a record player. Mechanical hard drives have multiple heads like a record player needle (although they do not actually touch anything) and data storage disk-shaped platters, like a record.

The head hovers just microns over the surface of the spinning disk reading the data from it and a knock can cause them to collide. Just like a deep scratch on a record, whatever data was on that section can be corrupted and lost, so movement should be kept to a minimum.

Make sure you always power down the laptop before moving it or packing it away. Whilst many modern laptops have anti-vibration technology which stops the hard drive heads when movement is detected, this cannot protect against sudden movement or continually placing the laptop on a hard surface, causing vibration.

Keep it cool:

Your laptop has 2 ways of telling you when it’s too hot – the fan and auto-shut off. Each component in your laptop is generating heat, and the harder it’s working, the more heat each component creates. The fan runs to blow that heat out of the vent and keep the components cool enough to continue operating.

Because there’s no clear temperature indicator, your fan volume is the best guide to monitoring laptop heat. While the laptop is working hard (and getting hot), the fan will spin faster and louder. It’s not uncommon for it to sound like a hair dryer at times! Help it out by keeping your fan vent clear of books, blankets, and other blockages.

Modern laptops should automatically power down if they get too hot but you shouldn’t let it get to that stage, as excess heat over a prolonged period can cause internal damage or a reduction in the laptop’s working life.

Respect the power cords:

Inside those robust looking power cords are a bunch of delicate wires, begging you to be gentle. You’d think they should be able to take a beating, get bent, twisted and run over with chair wheels, but unfortunately not. Keep cords clear of sharp or flat-edged items, and when wrapping for transport try to mimic how it came out of the box. Wrap the cord gently around itself or the power adapter and secure with Velcro or similar.

If your original power cable no longer works, be careful when buying a replacement adapter if it is not a manufacturers model, which can be expensive. Universal adapters are freely available with multiple removable heads that can fit various makes of laptop, but getting the correct fitting isn’t the only important thing – it’s the voltage.

If you turn your laptop upside down, there is usually a label on the underside (or sometimes under the battery) which indicates the correct voltage for the laptop. Some universal adapters can go above the common 18.5 / 19 volts and if they do, it can cause damage to your laptop. Double check the voltage needed and check the universal adapter voltage setting before powering it up.

Carry it padded:

Look for a bag that not only fits your laptop but also provides padding. If it is shut down, your system will endure countless bumps and bangs as the bag is moved around, even with careful use. Ideally your bag should have side, bottom, AND top padding, as well as a waterproof outer. If backpacks aren’t your style, look for padded or hard-shelled sleeves.

Back it up:

Laptops give us fantastic mobility but as mentioned above some parts are quite fragile. While a backup won’t make your laptop components last longer, it will make minor repairs that much easier. You’re more likely to take it in for a service if your data is accessible elsewhere, and of course, in the event of accident or theft, you’re fully prepared.

Consider an off-site backup for additional protection, so no matter what happens with your laptop you still have your important files.

Call us at 01455 209505 to give your laptop a life-extending service.

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Making Computer Issues a Thing of the Past

Managed services

We repair many computers and laptops each week, but unfortunately this is often ‘closing the barn door after the horse has bolted’. Computers have a habit of dying at the worst possible time – like when an important project is due tomorrow, or before you copy family photos to a backup.

We’ve combined our repair services with preventative measures aimed at preventing this happening to you. Our managed IT services are called ‘Proactive Care’ and can remotely take care of all the computers in your house or office, helping to protect you against both threats and system failure.

Here are a few things that form part of the protection package.

Anti-virus always up-to-date:

While many computers have anti-virus software installed, they don’t often have the latest virus and threat definitions. These systems are at risk every minute they spend online, as the anti-virus simply will not pick up and stop an unknown threat if it doesn’t have an up to date list of things to look for and these lists are updated many times a day.

‘Proactive Care’ makes sure that your anti-virus definitions are always up-to-date, keeping your computer secure against even the newest viruses.

Software patches:

Hackers like to spend their time figuring out new ways to break into computer systems. Software companies like Microsoft and Apple release regular patches to close these security holes. The patches are supposed to be applied automatically, but we often find that isn’t the case – patches didn’t download, were cancelled or produced an error.

Our services involve remotely checking that each patch has been applied successfully, and troubleshooting if required. As an added advantage, any time new features are packaged into an update, you’ll find them already installed for you.

Early failure detection:

Some parts in your computer send out alarm bells when they’re about to die.

Unfortunately, they’re not literal alarm bells (that would be too convenient), but rather information in the background that needs to be interpreted or manually checked. We can monitor these and advise if repairs are required.

For example, hard drives which store your information do eventually wear out, but they’re one of the parts that send out early failure warnings (unless the fault is a catastrophic one). We can monitor this and give you ample warning so that you have time to back up your important files. When it’s time, we’ll work with you to arrange drive replacement, making sure to either clone or re-install your operating system, whichever suits your needs best.

Tune-ups:

Even the most cared for computer will slow down over time. Hard drives become cluttered, operating systems corrupt and ghosts of uninstalled programs still remain. We can remotely schedule and run a regular maintenance routine that will keep your system running in good condition.

Our managed Proactive Care service happens entirely behind the scenes, so there is no disruption to your experience. You simply enjoy the benefits of having your own IT specialist team at one flat, low cost.

Start with managed IT services today – for more information give us a call on 01455 209505 or visit our Managed Services page.

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Windows 10 – Microsoft reveals the Data it collects

Windows 10 logo

With the forthcoming launch of the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft has released more information about the amount of data it collects from your computer, and sends back to Redmond.

A lot has been much said about Privacy issues with Windows 10 since its launch, although it’s fair to say that Apple and Google similarly scoop up data from your devices too. This time, Microsoft are saying that they are cutting down on the amount of data that they collect with this latest update and the details of what they actually do collect makes interesting reading.

What data they collect now

Windows 10 Home and Professional versions currently have two levels of data collection – Basic and Full.

Basic Mode is supposed to collect data on your hardware, records of crashes, how good your internet connection is, driver software usage, what apps you have installed and how they are used, as well as other things that are diagnostic in nature.

Full Mode collects the data from Basic level as well as things like your “inking and typing data” (yes that’s right, typing data) and records of system events. In certain circumstances they can get copies of user documents that have caused software crashes and run diagnostic tools on your computer, although there is a set of rules that apply before they can do so.

What data is collected after Creators Update

In Basic Mode, a lot of diagnostic technical information is sent over (see this although it’s written in geek) which is supposed to help Microsoft identify potential malware infections and the causes of crashing, to help them make the operating system more reliable. Also collected will be details of your hardware including the serial number of the machine, data on what applications are given administrator access permissions, your battery life, what mobile phone network you are using, and some other things.

Full Mode has not been explained as fully as Basic Mode, but as well as everything in Basic it includes data relating to your browser choice, the apps that you use to edit videos and images, user settings and preferences, what apps you have installed, internet addresses (URLs) that have triggered errors, total time reading eBooks, visited webpages, the list of peripherals attached to your computer, text typed in searches, words you have spoken to Cortana and more.

There has been a third option, where telemetry data can be switched off but that has only applied to the Enterprise, Education and other specialist versions – if you are using the Home and Pro version, you’re stuck with either Basic data collection or the Full package.

Microsoft emphasises that data collected is intended to be primarily for diagnostic reasons and the Creators Update will make it more explicit what data is collected, so you will be able to make more informed decisions when setting things up after the update. Having said that they are also being more transparent on what data is collected for marketing and advertising purposes too.

The jury is out as to whether privacy continues to be a thorn in Windows 10’s side and certainly some governments are taking an active interest into what information is actually being collected from peoples’ computers and why. The unfortunate thing is that users will not have any choice – if you use Windows 10 you will have data collected, possibly on a substantial scale.

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Orange Email – the End of the Road

Orange Email is closing

It has been on the cards for some time but one of the UK’s big internet companies, Orange, have announced that they are closing a number of their email accounts – so-called ‘legacy’ accounts – from 31st May 2017.

Why are they closing the accounts?

Over the years, internet companies have been bought and sold, including to competitors. Generally speaking, as the companies have been bought up, the new owners have kept the email addresses from the old company going, so as not to cause too much hassle for customers because of the changeover. After all, changing your email address is a process that no-one wants to do very often.

Unfortunately, these legacy email systems make little or no money for the new owners so the costs of running them are not recouped. Also, email technology has changed and improved over the years and few companies want to invest in upgrading their systems supporting the legacy products.

What email addresses are closing?

Here is the list of the email addresses that are closing: –

•    Orange.net
•    Orangehome.co.uk
•    Wanadoo.co.uk
•    Freeserve.co.uk
•    Fsbusiness.co.uk
•    Fslife.co.uk
•    Fsmail.net
•    Fsworld.co.uk
•    Fsnet.co.uk

What you need to do – Home users

When you decide to create an alternative email address, bear in mind that it may be preferable to open an account that is not dependant on your broadband company as this will give you flexibility later on, should you wish to change.

We recommend (as does Orange) that you consider opening a Gmail account with Google. This free service has some of the best anti-spam in the business and has much more flexibility than the service that you had before.

What you need to do – Business users

If you are using one of these addresses for your business, you need to get a new address now so that you can warn your customers and suppliers as soon as possible, as there appears to be no facility from Orange to forward your customers to your new address, after the closure date.

As mentioned in a previous Blog article, it is best to use your domain name for your business emails – and this is actually cheaper than you may think.

If you need help in creating your new email account, domain name or transferring Emails and Contacts to your new email address, give us a call on 01455 209505.

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Steps to a Paperless Office

Move to a paperless office

So your desk is buried in paper, your shelves are overcrowded with stacks of documents, and you’ve carved out just enough space for your keyboard, mouse and coffee? It’s time to go paperless, not just for your own sanity, but to streamline the entire business.

It’s the one move that saves time and space while gaining flexibility for your workforce.

When you’re ready to adopt paperless processes, consider these 4 steps:

Make use of the Cloud for storage and search:

Dropbox or Google Drive are the easiest tools to begin implementing paperless storage and collaboration, though there are others such as Evernote and Microsoft OneNote. Documents can be uploaded, viewed and edited only by those with permission and as well as clearing paper clutter, Cloud storage makes everything more flexible too.

No matter which you choose, you’ll be able to easily find files using search functions, and no longer need to remember whether it was filed by name, subject or category – just enter what you need and let the system locate it for you. Then simply update, share or email the file as required.

No more filing cabinets or archive rooms, just clutter-free workspaces, room to breathe, and possibly even lower overheads now that you could fit into a smaller office space. Digital files will also allow remote access, perfect for working on the go or mobile staff. Access files at any time using your secure login, on any device, from any location.

The added bonus of course, is that the Cloud storage also acts as an offsite backup for you and many have value added services such as unlimited ‘undelete’ – where deleted items are retrievable at any time, so you don’t have to worry if you’ve deleted the wrong thing!

Provide training:

Make sure that there is training or information to ensure that all workers are up to speed with the new system and the way you’d like things done. This is the time to set standards for file and folder names, new collaboration and security rules. Long-term adoption will require cooperation from workers at all levels of the business, and training for everyone will go a long way towards success.

Scan necessary papers:

The move towards digital files often requires a step back to scan necessary files into the system. Many of the office grade multifunction printers offer double-sided feed scanning, so you can quickly scan papers into the system and then dispose of the paper.

If there are practical or legal reasons for you to keep the paperwork, secure storage offsite is available whilst you use the digital copies for day to day work.

Alternatively, you can obtain special scanning hardware (like Fujitsu Scansnaps) which scan and digitise documents or there are companies that provide bulk documentation scanning for you.

Each file will digitise to quite a small size, so running out of hard drive space shouldn’t be a concern.

Prioritise backups:

The best way to prevent file and document loss is to have a robust backup system, including a regular off-site backup. Treat your backups as a vital insurance policy, so that your files are readily available and intact if required.

Ready to go paperless? We can help. Call us today at 01455 209505.

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Is your password in the top ten worst Passwords of 2016?

Computer security with good passwords

When the worst (or most guessable) passwords for 2016 were compiled from data breaches in the past year, the results tended to confirm what we have found in many cases – that many people are still using passwords that are so easy to guess that they are a hackers dream.

You can have the best antivirus protection in the world, but using an easy password means that you are just allowing people access as if you had just left your password on a post-it note stuck on the computer (and we’ve seen that too!).

You won’t need 3 guesses what the top two most common passwords are – 123456 and password – are you using one of them?

The Top Ten most used passwords

The top ten as compiled are: –

1.    123456
2.    password
3.    welcome
4.    ninja
5.    abc123
6.    123456789
7.    12345678
8.    sunshine
9.    princess
10.    qwerty

Is yours one of these, or a combination such as password1?

Other research shows that key combinations are becoming a favourite, such as zaq11qaz and other keys taken from patterns on your keyboard. The problem is that if someone wants to try to get into your computer, it isn’t just a question of some person guessing all the possibilities and typing them in – there are programs built specifically to try password combinations much faster than a human being can do, when typing in details.

These programs are designed to target all the common passwords first, such as names and, of course, the likes of password and 123456. They go through more and more possible combinations, knowing that most people tend to take a less complicated approach to their passwords and as such they may strike lucky.

How can you make your passwords harder

There was a time when the general approach was to have a minimum of 8 characters in your password, using letters and numbers. The advice now is to have a minimum of 12 characters (although 16 characters is becoming more popular), again with a combination of letters and numbers but also using capitals and where possible, using special characters such as @ and ! However some websites do not allow the use of special characters, in which case you would need to stick to the alphanumeric method.

Make your passwords impenetrable but memorable

If you have a secure password such as hGu7vyXakeTgo034 it can hardly be classed as memorable and with good reason. So the ‘sweet spot’ is to have a password that is just as complicated, but is one which you can recall without too much trouble.

We recommend a phrase that you can easily recall but substituting letters with numbers, capitals and if possible, special characters, such as wEd0coMPu73rR3P@irs – a version of “wedocomputerrepairs” – just come up with a phrase that means something to you but which you can change enough to be effective.

There are also paid and free password manager programs that you can use, which encrypt and remember passwords for you, but make sure that you use a reputable program, so research such as program reviews is important.

Also, as we have advised previously, try not to re-use passwords if at all possible.

It’s easier than you think to make it harder for your password to be compromised, yet many people do not take this important step. The fact is that you need a good password every bit as much as you need protection from viruses and malware – they are both important.

If you would like advice on securing your computer, give us a call on 01455 209505.

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When and Why you should use Remote Support

Remote Support

If you’ve ever had a sudden computer problem, you know it can be very stressful. So much of our day-to-day life requires having access to a working computer. Homework, budgeting, bills, even browsing emails can all have a degree of urgency that mean having a broken computer isn’t comfortable for long.

Your computer technician offers two options: remote repair or technician visit. Which is the best choice for you?

Benefits of Remote Support

Cost: If remote repair is a possibility, your technician can connect via the Internet and can investigate the problem – using specialist software that allows a technician to use their own screen, keyboard and mouse as if they were sitting right there in front of your computer.  You can watch while they work or you might also choose to just leave it turned on so the Tech conducts the repair, whilst you do something else. Depending on how long it takes, it will be much cheaper than a visit, for obvious reasons.

Speed: Remote support is great for troubleshooting issues and in many cases we connect remotely and find that it is a setting that is wrong, or some other issue that does not take long to rectify. Seeing the actual problem is much better when diagnosing faults and having a technician checking your computer, possibly within minutes of your call, is better than waiting.

Convenience: As we come to customers’ Homes and Offices, you already get to skip the unpleasant tasks of unplugging the PC, untangling the cables and carting it into a repair store – and back.

Apart from the speed and cost benefits, we find that we are also using Remote support for other things apart from repair, such as our computer tuition – showing customers how to do things with their computer – which is very handy when you don’t have to go outside your home or office to learn it.

Negatives of Remote Support

Repair options: A remote connection can only repair certain software problems, not hardware problems. It’s impossible for the technician to swap out a failed part remotely, and unless you’re confident in your own repair skills, guided physical repair isn’t viable either.

Occasionally the problem will also be outside the computer, perhaps a troublesome peripheral or connection. Your technician may be able to walk you through correcting some of these minor problems yourself, but many require a physical call-out.

Connection speed: Obviously an internet connection is needed and a slow or unstable connection will make a remote repair take longer and increase the difficulty of the task. The extended time impacts the cost for the call, and in extreme cases, can negate any benefits of skipping the physical inspection. Your connection needs to allow the technician to see real-time responses as if they were sitting there in person.

Accessibility: If your computer won’t start or can’t connect to the Internet at all, your technician can’t log in. This includes seeing a ‘blue screen of death’, boot failure and Windows load failure. As much as they’d like to help you, being able to log in to your system is a vital step in the remote repair process.

Trust: You must be careful who you allow to connect to your computer. For example, a scammer remotely connecting to your computer can wreak havoc without you knowing, so it’s vital that you choose a company (or person) that you can trust who will not do anything untoward. Just apply the same caution that you would when allowing any person to look at your computer or even come into your home.

Remote support and repair is the ideal situation, purely for speed and convenience. As a bonus, in the event the remote repair is unsuccessful, it also means your tech now has a better idea of the problem and can speed up any on-site or in-store repairs.  Remote support is the best option for many repairs and gets your computer working again with minimal disruption and lowest cost.

Need a repair? Call us at 01455 209505 for rapid remote support.

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Windows 10 Creators Update Coming Soon

Windows 10 logo

In April 2017 Microsoft will begin rolling out the next major Update to the Windows 10 operating system, which they are calling the ‘Creators Update’. Even though this may dismay many people who remember the issues that they had with the ‘Anniversary’ update in 2016, Windows 10 has been specifically designed to have these major updates in much the same way as Apple OSX and iOS does.

Privacy changes

Microsoft has been heavily criticised since releasing Windows 10 because of the amount of private data it collects about users by default – that is unless the data collection is switched off in settings that most people wouldn’t look for. In the Creators Update, users will see a Privacy Settings page when installing initially (or after a major Update) with toggle controls that go into much more detail about privacy settings such as Location and relevant ads. Unfortunately the telemetry and diagnostic data that Windows 10 collects cannot be switched off and the choice will be either minimal data sent or all data is sent to Microsoft – there will be no middle ground.

There is also a ‘Privacy Dashboard’ now available through your Microsoft account, which allows you to manage data collected, such as browsing data and the data that Cortana collects.

Gamer Friendly

The Creators Update includes a Gaming Options section as well as a Game Mode, which tries to tweak hardware resources in a gamer-friendly way. There will also more Xbox compatibility involving streaming and chat.

Paint Revamped

The venerable love-it-or-hate-it ‘Paint’ program will include 3D capability and is believed to include tools and filters that assist in image manipulation, 2D-3D conversion and more sophisticated functions.

Windows Update Improvements

Windows Update has been a necessary evil for many years but even more so with Windows 10, after all Windows Update was the main reason why so many people had their computers ‘upgraded’ to Windows 10 whether they wanted it or not!

If you have the ‘Professional’, ‘Enterprise’ or ‘Educational’ version of Windows 10, you will be able to defer Updates for longer – unfortunately ‘Home’ version users will still be the Windows Update ‘guinea pigs’.

Windows Update ‘Active Hours’ will now be available which many people will be pleased about as it will allow you greater control over when Updates are installed. You will be able to tell the computer what times you want Updates installed and more importantly, when you don’t want them installed – so there should be fewer reboots at the worst possible time in future!

Microsoft Edge Tweaks

Changes will include Microsoft Wallet support, a ‘Set Aside’ function to stash your browser tabs for later, and a Tab Previews bar which allows you to view thumbnails of open tabs.

It will be interesting to see how Edge matures, although many people are still a little sceptical at the moment.

Theme Improvements

There will be enhanced support for customising the look of your computer and you can buy more Themes from – you guessed it – the Windows Store. This will be a welcome addition for the many people we see who do not go for the dark look out of the box.

Windows Defender

The built-in antivirus app in Windows 10 will get more functions, including new scanning options and reports on computer performance and health (much like paid versions). Strangely, it will also include a ‘Refresh Windows’ option, which is a nuclear option that you need to be very careful of, as it removes apps and programs that did not come with the computer.

There are many more changes and tweaks coming with the Creators Update, including being able to drag Start Menu Apps on top of each other (effectively grouping them as if in a folder), Virtual Reality support, automatic locking of the computer when walking away from it, EBooks, Cortana Monthly Reminders and many others.

As this is the new way of getting the “latest and greatest” version of Windows, Windows users will have to get used to getting larger updates at regular intervals which are essentially the equivalent of Windows 10.1, 10.2, etc., although this fact may not be good news for those who still have low broadband speed.

Before doing any kind of upgrades (especially significant Updates like this one), do make sure that you have backups of all your important personal files first. Some updates do go wrong and you need that peace of mind beforehand.

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