Archive for the ‘ Windows ’ Category

Who’s side are you on anyways?

I post many technology ezine (electronic magazine) articles that I think may be of interest to the average user.  Today a customer sent me an e-mail and asked “Who’s side are you on anyways?” after he read one articles that claims “Window 8” will be the greatest thing since sliced bread and another article that pointed out everything that is wrong with the new OS (operating system).  He also mentioned one article that told him everything he wanted to know about the latest iPad and a more recent post that read “16 reasons not to buy the new iPad.”

I take what I post very seriously and I only post articles that are factual not speculative.  I feel it is my responsibility to give you both sides of the argument so you can make an informed decision that best fits your needs.

When I go on a consult to a customer’s houses or businesses to help them pick out their next computer, I take time to find out what their particular needs are.  I ask if they are looking for a stationary desktop computer or for the portability and convenience of a laptop or tablet.

Once I know what their needs and goals are, I look for the best deal for that particular device.  Whether I find it on “ACME’s Discount Computer Emporium” or “Mega Computer’s Inc.” I don’t get any financial compensation from these companies.  My goal is to help the consumer get the computer or software that best fits their needs for the cheapest price possible.

The majority of my customers are 55 and older.  They use their computer to check e-mail, surf the web and view photographs of the grandchildren–so to suggest a $2,000 gaming rig would be irresponsible.  On the other hand, one of my customers does a lot of video editing, so an entry-level computer or a tablet would not suffice for his needs.

Another consideration is their openness to change.  A younger user may be more inclined to switch to a new OS, where others draw the line in the sand and wouldn’t dream of switching sides.  Either way, I have a responsibility to give you the pros and cons of a computing device, software requirement or an OS to help you make an informed decision that best suits your needs.  So to answer the question “Who’s side are you on anyway?” the answer is always “Your side!”

InPrivate Browsing and On-Screen Keyboard

Another layer of security built into every Windows 7 operating system that is often overlooked by new and experienced users alike is Windows Virtual keyboard.

The on-screen keyboard allows you to enter data without touching a single key on your physical keyboard.  To access this feature, type “On-Screen Keyboard ” in the search box and select “Start On-Screen Keyboard” before you begin using InPrivate Browsing.

A few years ago the virtual keyboard would have been viewed as an inconvenience but now that everyone is texting these days, I believe it’s time has come.

With the virtual keyboard, I can do everything that I can do with a physical keyboard using the mouse to select the keys on the virtual keyboard.  This way, if there were a key logger installed on my computer that I didn’t know about, my financial security would not be compromised.

The complaint I typically hear from people who try this feature is “When I access my bank using InPrivate Browsing it always asks me for the answer to my security question and even after I click “This is a computer I use often – remember it” it doesn’t……why is that?”

That is because when you close the InPrivate Browsing window your history is not saved,  hence the “In Private” in InPrivate browsing.

Another complaint I typically hear from people who have tried InPrivate Browsing is “I access my accounts several times a day so InPrivate Browsing is just too inconvenient for me.”  Think about this for a moment “Which is more inconvenient, having to answer your security question every time you log in or trying to recover your life’s savings if your identity was stolen?”

Windows Live (Part 2)

In Windows Live (Part 1), I told you how you can access your files using your Windows Live or Hotmail account, but what if the file you need is not one of the files you are syncing?

Using Windows Live Mesh you can log into your Windows Live or Hotmail account and click on “Go to Windows Live Devices”.  Assuming you have already setup the devices you want to access, you simply click on “Connect to this computer” and enter your user name and password.

Once connected, you can add the particular folder that you want for syncing purposes or you can email the file from the remote computer to yourself provided the file is not too large to send via email.

Windows Live (Part 1)

If you are running Windows 7 and you have downloaded Windows Live from Windows Update, then you probably know the benefits of Cloud Storage but if you have not taken advantage of this free service then I recommend that you download and familiarize yourself with it.

After you create a Windows Live account or a Hotmail account, then you can begin using Windows Live Mesh to sync your your laptop computer with your desktop computer or your home computer with your work computer.

Having setup this program when I upgraded my work computer, I was able to log into Windows Live with my Hotmail address and access the files that I forgot to backup to my thumb drive without getting in the car and driving to work.

Windows Live allows you 5.00 GB of storage accessible via any computer with an internet connection.  But what if you maxed out your Windows Live storage and the file you needed is not on the cloud or what if you are not comfortable storing your personal files on the cloud?  Windows Live Mesh can sync your documents from one computer to the other without storing any of your documents on the cloud.

Two things worth mentioning, first you can only take advantage of all that Windows Live Mesh has to offer using Windows Explorer 32 bit edition and second you need to remember with Windows Live Mesh or any cloud storage option, when you delete your account your files are no longer accessible so remember to back up your files before deleting your account.

Windows 8 Preview

According to all reports, Windows 8 will be available as early as Spring 2012.  When it does, I will have no other choice but to run out and buy it if I want to remain informative to customers who ask for my help and to remain competitive if I want to stay in business.  With every new operating system, there is a level of excitement I feel when I have the DVD in my hand and I am about to install it.  Over the past couple of months I have downloaded and installed the Windows 8 beta developer preview onto a virtual drive.  I purchased the Windows Phone 7 when it became available in November of 2010 so I was already familiar with the metro tiles.  Although Windows 8 is in it’s infancy, I have to admit for the first time in my life since becoming a computer enthusiast, I am not excited about this OS.  Windows 8 is supposed to be chock full of innovative features but so far I am not impressed.  As of today’s date, if you were to ask my opinion, when Windows 8 is ready for the general public, I think I will install it on a virtual drive and remain a loyal Windows 7 user.

Are you still using Windows XP

Are you still using Windows XP?  Why haven’t you switched to Windows 7?  As of late Spring of 2012, Microsoft will be introducing their new OS called Windows 8 and Windows XP will no longer be supported.  You can no longer get support from Windows Update for Windows XP and Internet Explorer 9 does not work with Windows XP either leaving it susceptible to browser attacks.  What are you waiting for?