AOL is now charging for using their desktop software. You can access your email at mail.aol.com for free but using the software is going to cost you. Now is a good time to switch off of AOL. Follow the steps below to switch to a free Gmail account.
Go to Gmail.com, click on Create An Account. Create your new Gmail account. Have Gmail fetch your AOL email. You set this up in Gmail Settings. Add a signature to your Gmail account saying your address has changed. Reply to all email from the Gmail account. Eventually, you'll be able to stop the AOL forwarding as all that will be left will be junk email. Mark all junk as Spam. Gmail has an amazing spam filter.
Voila! No one will call you Grandma/Grandpa because of your AOL email!
Microsoft really wants you to upgrade to Windows 10. As a matter of fact, it is a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8.1 users until July 29, 2016. Microsoft has never offered free upgrades before. In the past, you had to buy a new computer or buy a license for the new operating system costing around $120.
There is a lot to like about Windows 10. It works with computers and tablets. It's interface feels more modern than previous versions of Windows. Your older computer will run faster with Windows 10. I am now recommending most users upgrade. Contact me for help deciding or going forward with the upgrade.
However, users should have control over whether to upgrade or not.
Microsoft recently changed the pop-up that wants to upgrade to Windows 10 ever so slightly so that now when you click on the red "X" to dismiss it, you have given tacit approval for Windows 10 to install.
Let me explain. For months, the pop-up users of Windows 7 and 8.1 have been receiving looked like this:
It looks like you have no choice here - Upgrade now or Upgrade tonight. But if you clicked on the red "X" at the top right of the windows, your computer did not upgrade.
That doesn't work anymore.
Now, the pop-up has changed so that if you click on the red "X", it sends the message to Microsoft that you want to upgrade!
The new window looks like this:
To stop the upgrade, you now have to notice the sentence "Click here to change upgrade schedule or cancel scheduled upgrade." Clicking the red "X" schedules the upgrade.
There are other ways to block the upgrade such as third party programs that will stop Windows from upgrading. Contact us for details.
Call us for guidance on the Windows 10 upgrade:
- My computer upgraded, things look different. HELP!
- How to make sure your computer upgrades correctly
- Preventing the upgrade.
March 31st is World Backup Day! Make sure your data is protected by having a good backup system in place. Hard drives fail. It's a fact of life. Protect your data by having an on-site and off-site backup. You'll be glad you did. More info about backup can be found here.
Well, not really. Microsoft is pushing Windows 10. It's a free upgrade until the end of July, 2016.
There are many reasons to upgrade but if you wish, you can prevent Windows 10 from automatically installing on your computer. The easiest way to do this if the install starts is to decline the EULA (End User License Agreement) for Windows 10. Your computer will revert to Windows 7/8.1.
We recommend upgrading with a couple precautionary steps. Make sure your computer is backed up and free of viruses/spyware first. If you don't know how to do this, please contact us before attempting upgrade. OS upgrades can be tricky so be prepared with a good backup.
We are offering a full backup image of your computer and upgrade to Windows 10 for a low reasonable price. Same day service is dropped off by 10am. Contact us for details.
More info here...
Back in April, I sent out the "Power Saving Part 1" email newsletter. I discussed the options you can use to save power without shutting down your computer. This time I will address how to automate the power savings on your desktop or laptop to take full advantage of these options.
While the basic options are fairly straight-forward, the advanced options can be daunting. So I recommend sticking with the simplest options that will fit your needs. The way that these options are managed depends on which Operating System you are using, so I’ll go through each one separately.
The Power Options can be found in the Control Panel, which should be a button in your Start menu. If your Control Panel is in Category view, the Power Options are under “System and Security”.
From this screen, you can choose the overall power saving mode for your computer. These are fairly self-explanatory, but where it gets interesting is if you choose the “Change plan settings” option for your desired power mode.
Plan settings: From here, you can select from the drop-down menus the time intervals for the given power option. The computer will automatically enable that power-saving option when it is not in use for that amount of time. If these options aren’t enough for you, or you are feeling adventurous, check out the “Change advanced power settings” menu. If you choose not to go into the advanced settings, and changed something here, make sure that you click “Save changes” before leaving this window.
Advanced power settings: This menu gives you precise control over your power settings. You can customize the time intervals rather than having to select from a drop-down menu. There are all kinds of settings here that aren’t found anywhere else, but the ones I previously discussed can be found under the “Sleep” category. Some of these options are simple enough to understand, however I would not recommend messing with any settings here if you are unsure of what they mean or what they might do. Finally, make sure you click “OK” to save the settings you have changed, or “Cancel” if you did not want to change any of these settings.
The Energy Saver options for Mac can be found in the “System Preferences” panel on the Apple menu. This will give you two dials which can be adjusted however you like. “Computer sleep” is when your computer will enter into sleep mode. “Display sleep” is when your monitor will automatically turn off. “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” means that your computer will preserve even more power when not in use -- this might mean it takes a little bit more time to wake up, but should still be relatively quick.
On a laptop, you may notice that at the top are two different tabs -- one for “Battery” (i.e. when your computer is running on battery power), and one for “Power Adapter” (i.e. when you are plugged into a power source. The settings for each of these modes are completely separate and not affected by each other.
In the last few days, you may have noticed in your system tray (the area by your clock), a little Windows 8 looking icon (see left). If you click on it, it’s a Windows 10 upgrade window asking you to register to be on the list for the upgrade on July 29th or after.
Windows 10 will be free for the first year it is offered. This is the first time Microsoft is offering an OS upgrade for free.
If you register, Windows 10 will be downloaded to your computer when it’s released. If and when you chose to install it is up to you.
If you have Windows 7 and are completely happy with how your system runs right now, there is no need to upgrade and you can ignore the prompt from Microsoft. This is recommended for business computers. Windows 7 is supported until 2020 so you have 5 more years before you need to change.
Do not download and install the upgrade on the very first day it is available. We recommend waiting it out until any bugs are figured out.
Before doing any upgrade, you should follow some simple procedures.
Thames Computer Consulting will backup your data, install the new upgrade and make sure all drivers and programs are working for $149. Contact us now for this great deal!
How much is your data worth to you? If your hard drive crashed or if you lost your device - would losing the data upset you? Of course it would! You have pictures, emails, documents, music - your whole life is on that thing!
It's not a question of "if" your hard drive will fail, it's really a question of "when." Hard drives are the most sensitive pieces of equipment on a computer. They are essentially floating platters that spin at high speeds with a head that moves back and forth over the platters. It's actually a wonder they don't fail more often!
TYPES OF BACKUP
Some backup suggestions:
It recently occurred to me that there are many power saving options with modern Operating Systems, and most people are hardly even aware of them, let alone how helpful they are. So I thought I would introduce these useful tools, and in the following posts I’ll give you even more interesting ways of using them so you can optimize your electricity savings.
This is the most basic resting state of your computer when it is on but not running. It stores all of your open applications and their states in active memory, and powers down all of the non-essential systems. The machine can then be woken up very quickly and easily, and restores everything to exactly where you left off. The computer still uses power in this state, but only enough to retain your applications in memory.
Be careful about what you leave open when putting your computer to sleep. For example: You can leave web applications open, but everything you had entered into a webpage without submitting might be lost, and many of the open websites will time out. Just to be safe, I recommend not leaving any web forms open, and saving everything in all other open applications (Microsoft Office, Calendar, Notepad, etc.)
Here’s how to use the sleep mode manually:
A. Many PCs and laptop keyboards have a sleep button. It usually looks like a crescent moon and might have other symbols on it. Pressing that key will initiate the sleep mode for your PC. If you don’t have that, you can try option "B".
B. In the Start menu, at the bottom, you should see the “shut down” button. There should be a little arrow next to it. If you click that arrow, it will give you all of the various options of signing off, restarting, or putting your computer into a low power state. At the bottom, you should see the “Sleep” and “Hibernate” modes. If you’re curious about the “Hibernate” mode, I will discuss it next.
If you click on the Apple logo on the left of your menu bar at the top of the screen, you will find the most important system functions. One of which, probably towards the bottom, is the “Sleep” option.
This is an option exclusive to Windows. It is very similar to “Sleep”, except instead of going to a low power state, the computer shuts off completely. When you power up the computer, everything will automatically be restored as it was before. The downside is that it takes a little bit more time than “Sleep” to initiate and restore. As with “Sleep”, be very careful about what you leave open when going to this state, as some information might get lost, especially in web forms.
To get out of either of these modes, you can simply press (but DO NOT HOLD) the power button on your computer and it will restore everything for you. If you like to be on the safe side, some computers will wake up from “Sleep” with a keystroke, but not all.
One last note about using these modes: Don't disconnect a USB device or monitor, you should only do it through the proper channels (i.e. “disconnect this device”) when your computer is either running normally, or properly Shut Down.
That’s all for now, I hope everyone enjoys the power savings you should be getting by properly using these modes. Join us next time, when I will discuss how to use automated power-saving options, and make the computer decide how best to save energy!
Come March 18th at 10:00am to 19 E. Spring Ave. Ardmore, PA 19003 for an informal class in the Excel basics and beyond. Bring your laptop. Class limited to 8 students so sign up quickly! Bring your laptop! Registration by Paypal only. Click the Buy Now button below to pay through Paypal.
My last blog post was on a pop-up that Mac users have been getting with a fake tech support number to call. Lately, Windows users have been getting phone calls from fake technicians claiming to be associated with Microsoft. If someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support, or affiliated with Microsoft, calls you:
Read more at this link. Microsoft is going after these scammers legally. Report the scam here:
If you see the pop-up below while on the internet on your Mac, DO NOT call the number. If you call the number, DO NOT give the "technician" remote access to your Mac. This is a scam to get control of your computer and have you sign up for technical support.
It is important to understand that no website can scan your computer for malware or suspicious activity. Mac OS X will never display such a message within your web browser.
Press Command-Option-Esc to display the Force Quit Applications window. Force quit your browser to make the message go away. Restart your computer.
Read a great explanation of this scam here.
People often call because some piece of technology is not working for them. We all know how frustrating that can be. Often, the fix is something simple. Here are some things to try before calling for help:
1. Shut down the computer/phone/printer/tablet. Turn it back on. Simple, right? This one easy step can fix many problems especially if you haven't turned the device off and on again in awhile. Printers rarely get turned off and on so they are receptive to this action.
2. If your internet isn't working, turn off the modem/router and turn it back on. This can be a tad tricky depending on if you have a modem/router combination or you have 2 separate devices. If you have a modem/router combination, there should be an on/off switch on the back of the modem/router. If there isn't, pull the power cord out, wait 10 seconds, and then plug it back in.
If you have a separate modem and router, unplug both devices from power. (please tell me you can figure out which is the power cord). Plug in the modem first. Wait 2 minutes until all the lights are on or flashing. Then plug in the router. Try your internet again. This works even if one device is not connecting but all other devices are.
3. OK, this one is embarrassing but please make sure it's "plugged in" or the battery hasn't run out. No more needs to be said.
4. Got an error message? Take a picture with your smartphone. Those cryptic error messages can sometimes be very helpful in solving or at least diagnosing the problem with your computer.
5. If your printer isn't working, try these steps:
Microsoft makes lots of good free stuff available. Here are some useful keyboard shortcuts for Office 2013.
To do this: Press
Go to "Tell me what you want to do" Alt+Q
Select all Ctrl+A
Decrease font size 1 point Ctrl+[
Increase font size 1 point Ctrl+]
Center text Ctrl+E
Left align text Ctrl+L
Right align text Ctrl+R
Zoom 0Alt+W, Q, then tab in Zoom dialog box to the value you want.
I've been meaning to write about this Net Neutrality issue for awhile. It's complicated and oh, so boring so I'm going to try and make it short and sweet here. The takeaway is to please write to the FCC and let them know how you feel.
To start, watch this video for a quick 2-minute description on what Net Neutrality means. Also, this site gives a great visual description of the issue.
Currently, when you access the internet on your phone, tablet or computer, you get to view websites and watch video at pretty much the same speed everyone else does. You may pay for a faster download speed from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) but no matter what site you go to, your ISP treats them all the same. That is called Net Neutrality. Everyone gets the same treatment.
Here's the issue: The FCC, based on lobbying by companies like Comcast, AT&T and others that provide internet services, has said it would create new "fast lanes" for websites that pay them more money. That means Comcast will give faster access to companies that pay them money to put them in the "fast lane." Consumers will probably not be able to pay for this "fast lane." Companies like Netflix will pay. Business Insider has a great explanation of this.
What you can do
If you think adding fast lanes for those who can pay is unfair, there are several ways to have your voice be heard. Check out this post at "SavetheInternet.com" for steps you can take. I think the best step is to write to the FCC as they are taking comments for a few more weeks. Other options on this link include signing a petition and calling Congress and/or the President.
To write the FCC, click here. Go to docket 14-28. It should be at the top. Fill in your name and email address. In the comments, say you want to keep the internet neutral and there should not be fast lanes for companies that pay more. Also, you can say that if the FCC classifies the ISP's as Class II providers, then ISP's will be treated like the phone companies where everyone has the same access.
I find a lot of people are confused with what iCloud is and what it does.
What is it?
iCloud is a cloud-based service by Apple. It works to either backup or sync your data from your iPhone/iPad/Mac/Windows PC to your other devices. Apple gives you 5GB of storage free to backup/sync your devices. If you run out of space, you can either delete some data or you can buy more storage from Apple. Prices are here. If you share an Apple ID with several members of your family, you are all sharing only 5GB of free storage. If everyone has their own Apple ID, they each get their own 5GB free.
What exactly gets backed up/synced?
Ah, this is where is gets tricky. Here is a list of what iCloud backs up:
On your iOS device:
On your Mac:
What doesn't get backed up
When do iCloud backups happen from your iPhone/iPad?
Photo Stream and email:
If you want to be extra safe like me, you turn on iCloud backup for your iPhone/iPad AND you back up your devices by plugging them into a computer and using iTunes. iTunes provides a more thorough backup then iCloud.