Is it possible to use a TV as a computer display and/or as a second display?

Is it possible to use a TV as a computer display and/or as a second display? As I prepare this posting here at What’s On My PC, I am typing this on my computer using a TV (32″) as my primary display and a second TV (26″) set up as the second display. So the answer is YES…; but, what is involved to make this work???

To learn more, I encourage you to read the article, “Can I Use My TV as a Second Display?” at “Ask Leo”… (see source link below) where Leo explains more about using the HDMI connections on your TV and computer and the benefits of using the HDMI connection. It is not as hard as you think.

HDMI port on a laptop

Most modern TVs and computers can be connected easily, but there are a few issues to be aware of.

Source: Can I Use My TV as a Second Display? – Ask Leo!

How To Get A Daily Agenda Email From Your Google Calendar

Go to your Google Calendar to set this up; then, click the gear in the top-right corner and select “Settings”. On the left-hand menu, click the name of the calendar you want emails about. Then click on “General Notifications” and on the right side you will see various options for “General Notifications”. In the drop-down, select “Email” for “New Events”, “Changed Events”, Canceled Events”, “Event Responses” and “Daily Agenda”.  Also, as an added note you can scroll up (or select “Event Notifications” and/or “All Day Notifications”) to determine when these event notifications should be sent to your email.

To learn more about this and 12 Google Calendar Tricks, click on the source link below.

Source: 12 Google Calendar Tricks You’re Probably Not Using | PCMag.com

Make Tech Easier Shows Us “How to Clone Windows 10 to an SSD” Using Popular FREE Software

Cloning an exact copy of your hard disk is a good move and is a good (fast) method in restoring the Windows OS when things get messed up. Keep in mind, when you clone a disk, it is the exact copy of the disk on the date that you made the copy and is a good idea to do this on a regular basis.  I typically update and keep available a cloned copy of my hard disk at least once a year. My routine file backups I do on a more aggressive schedule. Cloning is also an excellent option when you want to move your current Windows 10 OS to a new drive that you have decided to upgrade and install.

Make Tech Easier will walk through the cloning process using the FREE software options of EaseUS or AOMEI Backupper (see source link below). Both of these software options are excellent choices.

So you bought an SSD drive, and you want to move your Windows 10 OS to the new drive. Here are a few ways you can clone and swap the OS install to an SSD.

Source: How to Clone Windows 10 to an SSD – Make Tech Easier

How to Create an ISO Image of Your Windows System | MakeUseOf

Learn how to make an ISO image backup of your PC’s hard drive. When disaster strikes you can restore the computer from the image. I encourage you to visit MakeUseOf (see source link below) to learn about the options available on imaging a disk in Windows 7, 8.1 and 10.

windows-iso

Thanks to the ISO image format, it is possible to back up your entire PC. This essentially creates an exact copy of your entire drive or selected directories. You’ll be able to restore the image backup should disaster strike.

Source: How to Create an ISO Image of Your Windows System

Reduce Muscle Strain With An Ergonomic Mouse

Want to reduce muscle strain and decrease discomfort while using the mouse?  If so, there are ergonomically correct options and many choices now available, when selecting an ergonomic mouse. When using a mouse, as we know it, on a regular (repetitious) basis, there is a risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and tendonitis.

To reduce the risk of injury, the solution is to use an ergonomic mouse where the mouse is designed to fit a more natural hand position when used.

To get a good idea of what choices are now available in various price ranges, click on the source link below. I think you are going to be surprised…

Source: Amazon – Egononmic Mouse

Here is “How to add a drop-down list to an Excel cell” 

TechRepublic shows us how (see source link below) to create a drop-down list in Microsoft Excel… Very handy when you have to enter specific information in a cell. When you get to the site, you will find video instruction, as well as, written instruction. If you use Excel, learning drop-down lists is a must.

june200712fig1rx.jpg

Drop-down lists can greatly facilitate data entry. Here’s a look at how to use Excel’s data validation feature to create handy lists within your worksheets.

Source: How to add a drop-down list to an Excel cell – TechRepublic

Learn More Here

Learn “How to Install (or Move) Apps to Another Drive on Windows 10” at How-To Geek

I ran into this situation with my Minix NEO Z83-4 Mini PC where I am limited in internal hard drive space (32GB) and wanted to install (or move) apps to an external drive. With Windows 10, it is possible to do exactly that. The only apps that I could not move were the apps already baked into the OS.

To learn how to install (or move) apps to an external drive I encourage you to follow the instructions that are posted at How-To Geek (see source link below). If you need an external hard drive, click here to see the wide array of options available.

Windows 10 allows you to install apps from the Store on any drive you like. You can also move apps you’ve previously installed to a new location without uninstalling and reinstalling them.

Source: How to Install (or Move) Apps to Another Drive on Windows 10

Convert Microsoft Publisher Files to PDF Free Online

Just experienced a situation where someone sent me a Microsoft Publisher file as an email attachment. Guess what, most people, including myself, do not have Publisher installed and when using my Chromebook there is no conversion option available. To remedy this issue, I went to a website called “Convert Publisher to PDF” and within minutes, after uploading the publisher file and downloading the converted pdf file, I could see the contents of the file. Also appears you can save the converted file to Google Drive, Box, and OneDrive.

Pub to PDF converter online without email. Access files from Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive. Convert Publisher to PDF. 100% free. No software installation.

Source: Convert Publisher to PDF Free Online

Here is “How to Print From an Android Smartphone or Tablet” | Digital Trends

This article provides “step-by-step” instructions on how to use “Google Cloud Print” and how to use a built-in feature in some printers that allows you to email a document to the printer for printing.

how to print from android printing 4

These days, you don’t need a computer to print a document or photo — you can easily print them straight from your smartphone or tablet. There are a few ways to do so, but once you’re set up, it should be easy. Our how-to guide will walk you through all the steps and have you printing wirelessly in no time.

Source: How to Print From an Android Smartphone or Tablet | Digital Trends

Here is “4 Ways to Factory Reset Your Windows Computer”

The very first thing this article will instruct you to do is to make sure you have backed up your personal files. Reason for that is that one you go nuclear and perform a factory reset, all will be lost… Secondly, the reset options available vary, depending on your Windows version; however, after reading the instructions you will get the drift.

Windows-10-Recovery-Reset

Want to know how to factory reset a computer? We show you the best methods to reset a Windows computer using Windows 10, 8, or 7.

Source: 4 Ways to Factory Reset Your Windows Computer

Learn “How To Organize Your Messy Windows Desktop (And Keep It That Way)”

When I was working as an IT Manager years ago I was stickler with the end-user on organized file management, which included saving files and program shortcuts to the Windows desktop. I would train people to save their work to a root folder and teach them to keep the desktop as clean as possible. A desktop that gets out of control will cause you anxiety and lead to a less productive computer experience; besides, in the workplace openly displaying files (even their names), that others around you can see, could present a security risk or lead to confidentiality issues. A cluttered desktop is like having a cluttered office and portrays the lack of organizational skills.

With that being said, below is a good post I found that will assist you at home and work in maintaining and organizing your desktop.

 

The desktop is a convenient place to store files and program shortcuts, but it can get messy fast. Here’s how to tidy your desktop up so you can quickly find everything you’re looking for—and make sure it stays nice and organized.

Source: How To Organize Your Messy Windows Desktop (And Keep It That Way)

Learn What “LockApp.exe” is on Windows 10

“LockApp.exe” is one of those hidden tasks that you don’t initially see unless you run the Windows Task Manager. The Windows Club (follow the source link below) will educate you on “LockApp.exe” and will provide steps to disable it. When I see “exe’s” such as this running; especially with a name like “LockApp.exe” I become very skeptical as to what it is actuall for and whether or not it is not a malware payload.

Its an official application from Microsoft, and is part of the default lock screen app on Windows. It’s safe. It is usually located under Windows > SystemApps > Microsoft.LockApp_XXXXXX> LockApp.exe. It is possible that this could be doing a lot more than that including notifying you about an update when you unlock your PC.

Source: What is LockApp.exe on Windows 10

Did You Know That You Can Rename a Printer in Windows 10 for Easier Device Management?

This tip (follow the source link below) is very helpful when dealing with multiple printers, such as on a network.

rename printer windows 10

Instead of forcing yourself and your family or coworkers to memorize printer model numbers, you can manually rename printers to something more descriptive and helpful. Here’s a quick tip on how to rename a printer in Windows 10.

Source: How to Rename a Printer in Windows 10 for Easier Device Management

Download Your Facebook Data (you will be shocked and surprised)

In light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where an app developer was able to sell your personal Facebook data to a research firm that helped Donald Trump win the election, Facebook has (and still is) taking some major league heat on this; and, rightfully so. As a result of this scandal, Facebook has vowed to become more transparent on how they use our personal information. Following the news on this, Facebook users became very concerned and wanted to know how to download their Facebook data.

With that out of the way, how do I download my data from Facebook?

The easiest way is to click the link below or enter the following web address in your browser:

https://www.facebook.com/settings

Note: You can also get to the settings by clicking on the small “downward facing triangle or arrow”, at the top right corner, on any of your facebook pages (after you log in).

Then, simply click on “Download a copy of your Facebook data”… After which, the following will appear where you then click on “Start My Archive”.

After you click on “Start My Archive” you will be prompted to enter your Facebook password.

Once the password is accepted, you will receive a notice on the screen advising that an email will be sent to the email address you registered with Facebook with instructions to complete the download.

When you receive the email, you can click on a link (in the email) that will take you back to the “Download Archive” page, where you will once again click on the “Download Archive” button, enter your Facebook Password, at which point you will be prompted to save the download.

The downloaded data will be contained within a “zip” file. A zip file is one file that contains many files and you should be able to open the “zip file” by double clicking on it, to see the contents. If you fail to download the data within a few day, you will have to repeat this process. The file size for the data will be large and may take time, so be patient.

Once the data is downloaded, open the file and click on the file named “index” to navigate the downloaded data. You will be shocked and surprised at everything that has been collected.

Maybe, “Big Brother” is watching…

 

 

How To Turn An Old PC Into A Chromebook (sort of)

Let’s face it, our notebook and desktop computers get old. Some die and some just keep chugging along; but, get very slow. If you are in this dilemma, don’t throw it away. You can take that old computer and turn it into something useful. A firm called Neverware has created a variant of the Chrome Operating System called CloudReady that can be installed to repurpose that old computer.

So, how do you go about this?

I found a great step-by-step article, “How to install Chromium OS and revive your old Windows PC” that will help walk you through the steps (see source link below)…

 Source: How to install Chromium OS and revive your old Windows PC – MSPoweruser 

Best List I Found On “How To Use A Chromebook”

I am exploring the Google Chromebooks and in the process, I am collecting various tips (and tricks) on how to use it. My goal is to learn this thing, “in and out”, with the intent of recommending the Chromebook to people at home. From what I am seeing, the Chromebook, just works, easy to use, updates are transparent, is inexpensive and there are a ton of Chrome apps and Android apps that can be run on the Chrome OS platform.

To get started with any device it is nice to have a “how to” list available and the best list I could find on the Chromebook was from c|net (see below)…

12 keyboard shortcuts every Chromebook owner needs to know

A dozen keyboard shortcuts to make Chrome OS even easier to use.

How to print from a Chromebook

Google Cloud Print for the win.

How to force quit apps on a Chromebook

What’s the Chromebook equivalent of Ctrl-Alt-Delete?

3 ways to pin apps to a Chromebook’s shelf

Help the app shelf help you.

How to keep your Chromebook from falling asleep

Stay woke.

This setting makes Chrome OS feel like more than just a browser

Open as window, says me.

How to use an external drive with a Chromebook

Not all of your files are stored in the cloud. Learn how to move files between your Chromebook and an external hard drive, thumb drive or SD card.

The best way to use Dropbox on a Chromebook

Accessing Dropbox from Chrome OS’s file manager is preferable to accessing it through the Chrome browser.

Run Windows software on a Chromebook

Can’t live without a particular Windows program? Here’s the trick for running it on your Chromebook.

How to take a screenshot on a Chromebook

Screenshots are a quick and easy way to save information or troubleshoot an issue.

Why a Chromebook isn’t the same thing as a budget laptop

They may look the same, but a cheap laptop and a Chromebook are more different than you might expect.


SOURCE: c|net – How to use a Chromebook: Tips, tricks and shortcuts

Check your internet speed by typing into Google “Internet Speed Test”

Did you know that an easy way to determine if your internet speed is up to par is to perform an internet speed test by simply going to Google and typing, “Internet Speed Test”?  Not only does this work on your computer, it will also work on your smartphone and tablet. The test and the results are provided by a company called M-Lab (for which Google has a partnership).

The graphics below and information is courtesy of Google to help you understand how this works and what the results mean. This is a good way to determine if you are getting the bandwidth speed you are paying for.

How the test works:

The test takes about 30 seconds. It figures out your Internet speed by measuring how much data can move through your connection in that time.

Understand the results:

The Internet speed test measures your connection’s download speed, upload speed, and latency. The best Internet connections have high download and upload speeds but low latency.

  • Download speed is how fast information can be transferred to you. It affects things like how long it takes to download large files or display webpages with lots of images. Download speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
  • Upload speed is how fast information can be transferred from you. It affects things like how long it takes to post pictures to social media. Upload speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
  • Latency measures how quickly you get a response from the server. Low response times are important for real-time apps, like video calls and online gaming. Latency is measured in milliseconds (ms).

SOURCE: Google – Internet Speed Test

Ask A Tech Teacher About Microsoft Sway

One of my favorite educational sites is “Ask A Tech Teacher“. If you have kids, I strongly recommend that you and your kids visit this site on a regular basis; and, if you are a kid like me (who is 60 years old), this site is a “must visit” site. You will learn something new every day…

For example, today I learned about “What is Microsoft Sway?”.

Sway is part of Office 365 Education and is the newest alternative to its popular PowerPoint slideshow program. Using the Sway canvas, students select a theme and then add their notes and research. Sway organizes the content, suggests images and even data, and then helps students to quickly arrange everything into a comprehensive and fully-fleshed project. If the selected theme doesn’t work, students simply click “remix” and get a different look. More advanced users can edit the pieces to fit particular colors and interests. When everything’s perfect, it can be shared, embedded, and published… READ MORE


SOURCE: Ask A Tech Teacher – What is Microsoft Sway?

Need help installing a particular computer component? Here are links for each piece of hardware in your PC…

The links below are part of PCWorld’s recent post on “How To Build A PC”…

thinkstockphotos 101767870

How to avoid common PC building mistakes

How to install or replace a case fan

How to install a power supply in your computer

How to install an Intel or AMD CPU in your PC

How to install new memory in your PC

How to replace your PC’s motherboard

How to install a graphics card

How to install a hard drive in your PC

The ultimate guide to proper PC cable management

 Troubleshooting your home-built PC


SOURCE: PCWorld – How To Build A PC

MSDN – Largest FREE Microsoft eBook Giveaway! I’m Giving Away MILLIONS of FREE Microsoft eBooks again…

Check out this free Microsoft Developer Network giveaway that has become an annual event…

Largest FREE Microsoft eBook Giveaway! I’m Giving Away MILLIONS of FREE Microsoft eBooks again, including: Windows 10, Office 365, Office 2016, Power BI, Azure, Windows 8.1, Office 2013, SharePoint 2016, SharePoint 2013, Dynamics CRM, PowerShell, Exchange Server, System Center, Cloud, SQL Server and more!

Ligman_Free_eBooks_Sm_thumb1

SOURCE: Microsoft Developer Network

If You Are Wondering About SD Memory Card Speeds

SD Memory cards are used in many different devices these days from smartphones to cameras to video recording devices…  There are so many cards to choose from. For example, check out [click here] to see an example of what I am talking about.

So, how do you determine what “class” card to purchase? Like everything else when it comes to storage; speed and capacity are two of the main factors that most people look at. A general rule of thumb when it comes to the SD Card (for file and data storage) is that the higher the class number, with Class 10 being the highest, the faster the read/write speeds. To learn more follow the source link below to get insight on SD Memory Cards…

sd-card-ratings

The SD Association defines Speed Class standards indicated by speed symbols to help consumers decide what card will provide the required minimum performance for reliability.

Source: Speed Class – SD Association

Helpful Windows 10 Resources From The “What’s On My PC” Tech Blog

Windows 10 will start rolling out on July 29, 2015. The strategy, from what I understand, will be to release the upgrade in waves; which, indicates to me your upgrade may not hit your PC for awhile.

In the meantime, to prep everyone, I have been posting information (here and there) about Windows 10 since the beginning of June. To bring this all together I have listed the articles that I have posted (from the most recent to oldest) as a quick reference resource in an effort to help you with the upgrade process and to learn more about Windows 10.

What Happens Next After You Reserve Your Copy Of Windows 10

Your Questions Answered About Windows 10

Need A Quick Intro To Windows 10?

GWX.EXE (Or, How To Remove the Windows 10 Upgrade Nag)

Nice Brief Review On What Will Be New (To You) In Windows 10

Get Answers To Windows 10 FAQ’s HERE

Reserve Your FREE Upgrade To Windows 10 Now

Confirmed – Windows 10 Availability Date Is July 29, 2015

I have been following Windows 10 since its’ early development, and based on Microsoft’s history of good and bad operating system releases, Windows 10 is an operating system that Microsoft knows that they have to get right.  I am pretty excited about this release myself and can’t wait to try it…  If you are in a situation where you are not eligible for the upgrade and/or you are building a PC, here is a link to buy Windows 10 at Amazon — CLICK HERE 

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A Brief “How To” On Replacing The Power Supply In Your Computer

One of the most popular articles, at What’s On My PC, is about pinpointing whether a power supply is failing or not (Symptoms of a Failing Computer Power Supply)… What the article does not get into, is how to remove the power supply and replace it. If you examine the picture below of a computer power supply, it appears from all the wiring, it is a complex process; but, in reality it is not.

Today, I came across a brief “how to” on replacing the power supply in your computer at PCWorld. The article describes very nicely the two factors involved:

How Remove Your Old PC Power Supply

AND

How To Replace Your PC Power Supply

How to replace a power supply...

I encourage you to take a minute or two to review the article and I think you will agree that removing and replacing a power supply is not very difficult. If you are looking for a replacement power supply click here

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Email – Less Is More

Was reading the USA Today tech article about 8 things you’re still doing wrong with email and there was “one of the eight” that really jumped out at me. That “one” being;  When composing an email “Less Is More” — meaning:

K. I. S. S. — Keep it simple, stupid. Email is not the place to write a novel. With more than 121 emails in a typical inbox a day (source: The Radicati Group), no one wants to read 17 pages of text. Granted, your emails needn’t be as cold and brief as an instant message or text (e.g. “C U @ 10 4 java?”) but be sure what you’re communicating is clear and near the top of the email, as studies have shown our attention span tends to drift as our eyes scan down the page. Friendly is good, but keep your email messages short, simple and concise. — source: USA Today

Oftentimes, especially when emotion is involved, we have a tendency to write lengthy emails. I can tell you from experience, that writing lengthy emails; especially, to the people that manage us at work, will not get you anywhere. If anything, it will have a negative impact.

Also, I have found two concerns, since the inception of email that factors into the equation:

  1. Most people are not good readers… (i.e. cannot accurately interpret or absorb the point being presented due to being too busy; lack good reading skills, short attention span, could care less, etc…)
  2. Most people are not good writers… (cannot accurately provide an interpretation of the point being presented due to poor grammar skills; poor spelling; lack attention to detail, let emotions take over, etc… )

Email is a powerful communicator and can serve as a record of actions, of sorts; however, be very careful of what your intentions are. Once you hit send, retraction of an email is impossible. It is best to keep the content brief and to the point. If you are sending an email, based on your emotions, I highly recommend you wait, really think it out and/or personally meet with or talk to the person.

A trick that has served me well, to make sure my email gets read, is to make the subject line of the email stick out like a sore thumb that is based on what the direct point or content of the email is. For example, instead of a subject line such as “Call Me”; I may insert a subject line “Call Me About the What’s On My PC Contract – ASAP”…

Let me know what some of your advice is when it comes to Email…

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If Your Windows 8.1 Computer Is Not Adjusting For Daylight Saving Time

When Daylight Saving Time occurred on March 8th, I noticed when I turned on my computer that it did not adjust for Daylight Saving Time. I did not realize, until this experience, that trying to set the time on my Windows 81. computer was a pain in the butt and figured that this experience may end up helping someone else out. I know I am losing my touch from being out of the IT field for awhile, but this was crazy and I can understand why people, not completely familiar with computers, would get frustrated.

I initially, as first thought, went to the taskbar tray, clicked on the time (then clicked on “Change date and time setting), then clicked on the “Change date and time” button  and manually set the time to account for the time change. Several days later, on a reboot, I noticed that the time reverted again back an hour. On this occasion I went into the time settings, by clicking on the time in the taskbar tray (then clicked on “Change date and time setting), then clicked on the “Internet Time” tab and I noticed that when I manually performed a sync with one of the online internet servers, after I manually set the time, the time would automatically go back an hour.

I eventually found the solution; and that being once you go into the “Date and Time” settings either by clicking on the time in the taskbar tray or through the Control Panel, you want to click on the “Change time zone” button and make sure you have the “Automatically adjust clock for Daylight Saving Time” box with a check mark inside of it. Once I did that my time adjusted accordingly for my time zone. I have no idea how and why that box was unchecked; when, in my mind that should be checked by default (or I am starting to have one of those senior moments).

Windows 8.1 Time Settings

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KPC – “Keeping Parents Clueless” With Text Messaging

For a 57 year old techie, my texting skills are pretty good compared to others in my age group; but, put me up against today’s teens and I am clearly no match (not even close). Part of the problem may be that I do not know the text message acronym system that is used by today’s kids to shorten (and hide) what they type. As a matter of fact, the first time I received a text “LOL = laughing out loud”, from my daughter, I was scratching my head.

I often stand back and wonder who determines the standard for any particular text message acronym and how does this become an accepted standard???  It is almost like the kids are born into this type of secretive messaging system that KPC – Keeps Parents Clueless. As a matter of fact, the kids are the teachers in this case and as student parents we need to know and learn this special language (to help keep our kids safe).

The point of this article is to let you know, especially if you are a parent, that these types of text communications can be closely related to those raging hormones and possibly to a hidden problem.

I happened across an Arizona based website, called azcentral, that had a piece (and video) on this very topic, and featured the “Top 28 Internet and text message acronyms every parent should know… (Source: azcentral)

I hope this list provides insight and makes us more sensitive in knowing what our kids are doing and saying (in coded words) to each other:

1. IWSN – I want sex now

2. GNOC – Get naked on camera

3. NIFOC – Naked in front of computer

4. PIR – Parent in room

5 CU46 – See you for sex

6. 53X – Sex

7. 9 – Parent watching

8. 99 – Parent gone

9. 1174′ – Party meeting place

10. THOT – That hoe over there

11. CID – Acid (the drug)

12. Broken – Hungover from alcohol

13. 420 – Marijuana

14. POS – Parent over shoulder

15. SUGARPIC – Suggestive or erotic photo

16. KOTL – Kiss on the lips

17. (L)MIRL – Let’s meet in real life

18. PRON – Porn

19. TDTM – Talk dirty to me

20. 8 – Oral sex

21. CD9 – Parents around/Code 9

22. IPN – I’m posting naked

23. LH6 – Let’s have sex

24. WTTP – Want to trade pictures?

25. DOC – Drug of choice

26. TWD – Texting while driving

27. GYPO – Get your pants off

28. KPC- Keeping parents clueless

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Having Problems Cloning A Windows 8 PC Hard Drive? Read These Articles, Download This FREE Software and Watch This Video

I recently purchased a new Windows 8 Box (see this article) and decided I wanted to make a bootable cloned drive. Being old school I went to work using the cloning software I had on hand and I immediately noticed something different in the drive partitions. The free software I was using was not getting the job done; and the drive, after the cloning process, did not boot. My tech instinct told me I was missing out on something and went to work researching terms I was seeing, such as GPT and UEFI.

I had been out of the field for nearly 7 years, have kept up with things (more as a hobby), but was not real familiar with the new GPT and UEFI terms that I was seeing. I had heard of the terms, but really did not pay any attention to them. Besides I always was a more of a software guy than a hardware guy (so it really did not hit high on my priority list, until now).

I soon discovered that all Windows 8 machines nowadays support the new GPT and UEFI ; AND, that it is real important to know what GPT and UEFI are when you get into the hardware side of a Windows 8 based computer.

In real simple terms GPT is the new replacement for MBR – Master Boot Record and UEFI is the new replacement for the BIOS – Basic Input/Output System.

To define GPT and UEFI in more complex terms (and to get a full understanding), I went to Wikipedia for a definition and found two really good articles that will bring this all together.

GUID Partition Table (GPT) is a standard for the layout of the partition table on a physical hard disk, using globally unique identifiers (GUID). Although it forms a part of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) standard (Unified EFI Forum proposed replacement for the PC BIOS)…  source: wikipedia:GUID Partition Table 

If you read this article “What’s the Difference Between GPT and MBR When Partitioning a Drive?” you will see that MBR is old school and GPT is new school… source: How-To Geek

If you read this article “UEFI boot: how does that actually work, then?” you will see where the author adamantly is telling us UEFI and BIOS are two completely different beasts. This article in my opinion really nails down all of this stuff to the point where I found a lot of what I had been reading was off base due to people using the terminology incorrectly.

You do not have a ‘UEFI BIOS’. No-one has a ‘UEFI BIOS’. Please don’t ever say ‘UEFI BIOS’. BIOS is not a generic term for all PC firmware, it is a particular type of PC firmware. Your computer has a firmware. If it’s an IBM PC compatible computer, it’s almost certainly either a BIOS or a UEFI firmware… source: AdamW on Linux and more

Getting back to my original problem of cloning my Windows 8 hard drive, I now knew I needed to find cloning software that supported GPT and UEFI. This is where I found Macrium Reflect (FREE Edition), which supported the cloning process for GPT and UEFI based systems. Macrium Reflect is a free disaster recovery solution for your home computer that primarily specializes in making drive images.

Also, during my research, I came across this instructional video “How to Clone Windows 8” , where the person in the video will clearly walk you through the cloning process using the FREE Edition of Macrium Reflect…

When it comes to cloning Windows 8 or 8.1 you need to use the right software for the job, whats even better you don’t have to pay. Here is a free option that lets you clone Windows 8 or 8.1 with ease. The program is called Macruim Reflect, it supports the new GPT and UEFI BIOS that all windows 8 machines come with now days.

In the end, once I educated myself about GPT and UEFI, had the right software, and watched how to do it; I walked away with a successfully cloned (and bootable) hard drive. Due to my real life experience working through this, I decided to help others out in the event they start pulling their hair out, like I did…

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Be Ready For When The Cybercriminal That Misrepresents Microsoft Calls You

I want to start off this post by stating something I tell people, especially the elderly, who came from a generation that trusted other people.

“If you receive an unsolicited telephone call, whether it be a charity, a politician, an alarm company, your grandson is locked up in a jail in Canada, etc… where the caller is wanting money, PLEASE disconnect the call”.

What I am finding is once you get hooked by these calls you are placed on a call list that is sold to others AND the calls will perpetuate into more calls. It is like getting spammed by telephone and it gets so bad that you do not know what is real and what is not. My general rule of thumb is, when I get a phone call at my house and there is a delay of 3 seconds, GUESS WHAT? You just got disconnected.

 

One of my favorite blogging sites is TCAT Shelbyville – Technical Blog. Recently they posted an article (that I reblogged) titled, “No, you are not a Microsoft employee, no I don’t have a virus and by the way, you are definitely talking to the wrong people” that really hit home with me personally. I actually know several people, including members of my immediate family, where this fraudulent activity occurred.

The fraudulent activity I refer to is where a person (usually with a foreign accent) will randomly call you and tell you that they are a Microsoft Tech and will offer to fix your computer problems or sell you a software license. They will convince you into taking over your computer remotely and then they will go to work attempting one or all of the following:

  • Trick you into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge you to remove this software.
  • Convince you to visit legitimate websites (like http://www.ammyy.com) to download software that will allow them to take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
  • Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.
  • Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information there

After reading the TCAT-Shelbyville article, I started wondering if Microsoft is aware that they are being misrepresented in this manner. What I discovered is that they do know and actually have a page up on their Safety & Security Site that focuses specifically on this matter. I strongly encourage you to visit Microsoft and read, “Avoid Tech Support Phone Scams” where you will learn the following:

  • Telephone tech support scams: What you need to know
  • How to protect yourself from telephone tech support scams
  • What to do if you already gave information to a tech support person
  • Will Microsoft ever call me?

How to report this crime:

The CyberCriminals that initiate these calls know that most people will not report the crime. I suggest that if you are victim of a call such as this, especially if you find your credit card has been compromised, that you report the matter to the local authorities and contact your credit card company immediately to be issued another card.

Microsoft also encourages you to contact them, as well:

Whenever you receive a phone call or see a pop-up window on your PC and feel uncertain whether it is from someone at Microsoft, don’t take the risk. Reach out directly to one of their technical support experts dedicated to helping you at the Microsoft Answer Desk. Or you can simply call Microsoft at 1-800-426-9400 or one of their customer service phone numbers for people located around the world.

Report phone scams 

In the United States, use the FTC Complaint Assistant form.

In Canada, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre can provide support.

In the United Kingdom, you can report fraud as well as unsolicited calls.

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TECH DEAL – Metro Vacuum ED500 DataVac 500-Watt 0.75-HP Electric Duster 120 volt

To maintain optimum cooling performance and stability of your computers and electronics it is necessary that on a regularly scheduled basis that you blow out the dust that accumulates. I have seen the interior components of computers so laden with dust that a blanket had actually developed causing the computer to overheat and stop functioning. Not forgetting to mention that dust build up on electronics can cause an overheated condition that potentially can lead to a fire.

A solution to this issue is to used cans of compressed air. This is a good solution; however, it can also be a costly solution with the costs of canned air being as high as $7 or 8$. A solution to eliminating the ongoing expense of canned air is the Metro Vaccuum Electric Duster. Bite the bullet on the cost of this duster and never buy cans of compressed air again.

Don’t let the name of this product fool you into thinking this is a vaccuum cleaner. It is the opposite, it is a duster with a 3/4 HP blower and it is awesome (and powerful) that will blow the dust out of just about anything. When blowing dust from your computer, make sure you do it in an open air environment (like outdoors) and make sure you wear eye protection.

I found a good deal on this at Amazon that you can use as a price comparison and where you can get a good read on the customer reviews (of over 1500 reviews). I cannot emphasize the importance of keeping your electronics dust free.

Metro Vacuum ED500 DataVac
500-Watt 0.75-HP Electric Duster 120 volt

Metro Vaccuum Duster

Features:

Electric duster is compact and comfortable to use.

Powerful 500-Watt motor literally blasts dust, dirt and debris off expensive computer/electronic equipment.

Motor: .75 HP, Amps: 4.5 amps, Weight: 2.7 lbs.

Google Chrome Tip – How To Open Links In New Tab In Background

Google Chrome TipGoogle Chrome user?  Try this handy tip. Not sure if this will work in the other browsers; but, you may want to give it a try. To me this tip is pretty handy, especially if you are researching something and you need to open another browser tab in the background.  I found two ways this will work:

1 – Hover your mouse on a link on a web page and CLICK your MIDDLE MOUSE BUTTON and the link will open in a new tab (in the background). For some reason, the type of mouse that I have, this did not work; however, other mice I have used, this does work.

2 – A workaround, if your middle mouse button does not work (like in my case), is to hover your mouse on a link, is to push down the CTRL key on the keyboard and LEFT MOUSE CLICK the link. Again, this will open the link in a new tab (in the backgound).

 

Windows 10 Technical Preview: Install As A Dual Boot Configuration OR Install In A Virtual Box

If you are looking for a method to “test and try” the Windows 10 Technical Preview and you do not have a test PC available; I found detailed instructions, from two very reputable sources, for two common install options. Even though these options are commonly used, it always the general-rule-of-thumb to have backups of your personal files and your hard drive readily available in the event trouble arises.

OPTION #1 (provided by the How To Geek):  How to Dual-Boot Windows 10 with Windows 7 or 8 – You probably shouldn’t install Windows 10 on your primary PC. But, if you are going to, you should at least install it in a dual-boot configuration. You can then reboot to switch between your installed versions of Windows. Be sure you have backups of your important files before doing this. You shouldn’t lose your files if you follow this process, but a mistake or bug could cause you to lose them. Better safe than sorry! … READ MORE

How to Dual-Boot Windows 10 with Windows 7 or 8

 

OPTION #2 (provided by TechRepublic): Pro tip: How to install Windows 10 Technical Preview in VirtualBox – Do you want to take a closer look at the Windows 10 Technical Preview, but you don’t want to disrupt your current computing environment with what is essentially an incomplete and potentially unstable operating system? If, so you’re in luck, because you can do so quite easily and without any fear by installing the Windows 10 Technical Preview in an Oracle VM VirtualBox virtual machine. In this article, I’ll show you how… READ MORE

VirtualBox with Windows 10

Use Ctrl + H in Google Chrome To Access and Manage Your Browsing History

If you use the Google Chrome Web Browser, hold down the “Ctrl” key on your keyboard and hit the “H” key… This hotkey combination makes it easy to view your history (for the past 90 days) and to manage various aspects of it, such as “clearing your browsing history” and managing the history on any of your other google account signed-in devices.

Chrome - Browsing History

Use the History page to view a list of websites you’ve ever visited in the last 90 days while using Google Chrome in standard mode. This page doesn’t store pages from secure websites, those you’ve visited in incognito mode, or those you’ve deleted from your browsing history. If you’re signed in to Chrome on multiple devices you will see your browsing history from those signed-in devices. Any changes that you make to your history on one device will be synced to your other signed-in devices automatically.

 

Train Yourself To Use The Windows 8/8.1 Quick Access Menu (aka: Win +X Menu)

If you are a Windows 8 user, teach yourself to to use the Quick Access Menu (also known as the “Win + X menu” where you hold down the “Windows Key” on the keyboard and hit the “X” key on the keyboard).

To get to the Quick Access menu using the mouse, right mouse-click the “Start Button” at the bottom-left corner of any screen (including the Start screen or the Desktop) and the menu will pop up. If you don’t see the “Start Button”, move your mouse to the lower-left corner, and the “Start Button” will appear.

Quick Access Menu

The reason you should train yourself to use this menu is that this menu was designed by Microsoft to give you a specific (hidden) location to quickly access the most commonly used and advanced options on your computer, no matter what screen you are working from (for example: you can do things like shut down and sign out, get to Control Panel, Task Manager, File Explorer, or open a Command Prompt window).

Few people know about this menu; and, the few that do know this menu is there, forget to use it. In a nutshell the “Quick Access Menu” gets you to the nuts and bolts of the Windows 8 operating system.

How To Activate The Windows 8.1 Onscreen Keyboards During Those Times Of Laziness

There are times when I am at my computer where my posture and position are just not ergonomically correct (by all standards). It is called getting comfortable (by my standards). It is when I am in my comfortable posture and position, with feet propped to the side, that typing from the keyboard requires me to become a contortionist (which then defeats the purpose of being in my comfortable position).

To solve this problem of using the keyboard I use the onscreen keyboards that are built into Windows 8.1 and use the mouse pointer to type (using the hunt and peck method).  To get to these keyboards and have them readily available here is what you do:

1st OPTION: Using the Windows 8.1 Touch Keyboard

1 – To Activate The Keyboard: Right click the taskbar at the bottom of your screen, select Toolbars, then click on Touch Keyboard. 

2 – To Launch The Keyboard: Click on the icon that is now on the taskbar to show or hide the keyboard (you can also click on the close “X” button to hide it, as well).

Touch Keyboard

2nd OPTION: Using the Windows 8.1 On Screen Keyboard

1 – To Activate and Launch The Keyboard: Press the key combination [Windows-Logo]+[R] and type the following command: osk and then confirm by pressing [Enter].

2 – Pinning To Taskbar:  After the keyboard launches, click on the minimize button so that the keyboard minimizes to the taskbar.  Once it is minimized to the taskbar, right mouse click the keyboard icon and select “pin to taskbar”.

3 – Using the Options: This onscreen keyboard can be moved around and resized; whereas the previous keyboard option presented is stationary at the bottom of the screen. There is an option’s button built into this keyboard that will allow you to add or remove features of the this keyboard. One nice feature using this keyboard is that it has word prediction built in, which makes your typing experience faster (and more accurate); PLUS, it also has a “hover” option (when turned on) that you can hover over a key with your mouse pointer and the letter will be typed for you.

On Screen Keyboard

You will see many articles out there on how to turn these keyboards “off”; whereas, for purposes of laziness I have presented you with how to turn these keyboards “on”…

These keyboards are really handy when you need to type in short text strings, such as a web address, a password, etc… I don’t think I will be typing any letters with these; BUT, what I am finding is that I am really getting faster at mouse typing (using the “hunt and peck method” or, maybe I should say the “hunt and click method”).

Geek Squeak – Ask Leo Answers The Question “Do I need a computer memory upgrade?”

Upgrading the memory in your computer is one of the best upgrades you can make; however, it is necessary to know that there are limitations in regards to what operating system you are running and whether it is a 32 bit vs. a 64 bit operating system. Get the answer on this at Ask Leo – Do I need a computer memory upgrade?

Ask Leo Answers The Question "Do I need a computer memory upgrade?"

I’ve said it before: upgrading your computer’s RAM memory is one of the most cost-effective ways of increasing its performance.

However, it’s not a silver bullet. Whether or not it will actually help you depends on many things. And of course, whether or not you actuallycanadd more memory is something we also need to look at… Read More @ Ask Leo

See The Site “Ask Leo” and Other Tech Sites

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Geek Squeak – How To Make The Windows 8 Task Manager Become A Desktop Widget

This geek squeak is a quickie, but is pretty neat.  If you have Windows 8, right click on the Windows 8 taskbar at the bottom of your screen, and click on Task Manager.  When Task Manager loads, click on the Performance tab. On the left side of the Performance Tab you will see graphical user interface for the CPU, Memory, Disk, Ethernet, etc… Left double click on on any of those and voila you will get a sized down widget version of the performance tab in a  floating window that can be moved around and is handy when it comes to troubleshooting problems.

To return back to the full size version of the Task Manager, just left double click anywhere inside the floating window.

How to Disable Specific Windows Updates So That They Will Not Be Installed

You probably are asking, “Why would I want to block a Windows Update?”.

I had numerous Windows Updates hit my PC yesterday and one of the updates would not install.  As a result, the computer ended up into a tailspin where every time I booted, the update appeared to be installing; then, it would fail; and, then uninstall itself.  After identifying what update it was, I needed a way to disable the update from installing, until a fix could be found.

What I found is that in Windows 7 and Windows 8 you can disable updates from installing by hiding them. Keep in mind, it is important to capture all updates; however, as in my case, there are those occasions where an update will break the machine.

To disable or hide the update I did some research and found that the web site Windows SevenForums has a very nice tutorial description (with graphics) on How to Hide or Restore Hidden Windows Updates in Windows 7 and Windows 8.

image

By following their tutorial, I was able to easily hide the update that was causing me the issue. Once I find a fix, I will unhide the update so that it can properly install. Thank you Windows SevenForum

A TTS (Text To Speech) Program With Functionality Of ASR (Automatic Speed Recognition Integrated)

[FEATURED GEEK SQUEAK] A TTS (Text To Speech) Program With Functionality Of ASR (Automatic Speed Recognition Integrated) – One of my hobbies in life is this blog. To assist me with getting a good read on what I publish, I use a TTS (Text To Speech) program that allows me to hear my written words. Typically when we write it is all visual; however, when something is read back to you it changes the whole perspective of things.

The program that I use for this purpose is a FREE (portable app) standalone program called DSpeech.

DSpeech gives you the ability to copy and paste text into the DSpeech reader and have it read back to you using different voices. You can also save the audio output to a variety of different audio file formats (such as WAV, .MP3, AAC, WMA or OGG).

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DSpeech is a TTS (Text To Speech) program with functionality of ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) integrated. It is able to to read aloud the written text and choose the sentences to be pronounced based upon the vocal answers of the user. It is specifically designed to quickly and directly provide the functions and improved practical usefulness that are requested by this kind of program. In the meantime, the invasiveness and resource consumption is minimal.

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Learn a byte at a time, at What’s On My PC, with Geek Squeaks’ — featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, how to, Android, Windows, you name it… Be sure to check out MORE GEEK SQUEAKS BELOW!

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[HOW TO] What Does Airplane Mode Do, and Is It Really Necessary? – Airplane mode disables a device’s cellular radio, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth — the wireless transmission functions. But many airplanes now offer in-flight Wi-Fi, and cellular access may be coming to planes soon — so where does that leave airplane mode?…READ MORE @ How To Geek

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[ANDROID] Poppy Gives You Email Notifications That You Can Reply To From Anywhere – Email Popup: Poppy is an Android app that gives you richer email alerts on any screen. Like the alerts in the notification area, you can interact with the alert but it takes the interaction further. You can reply to the email directly from the email without having to switch to the email app… READ MORE @ Addictive Tips

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[HOW TO] How To Access All OneDrive Files Offline In Windows 8.1 -Here is a short tutorial that explains how to to access OneDrive files offline in Windows 8.1… READ MORE @ I Love Free Software

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[TECH NEWS] Moving On: Microsoft Confirms No More Major Updates for Windows 8 – Microsoft tried to address consumer complaints in Windows 8 with Windows 8.1, and then again with its first major update for Windows 8.1. However, Windows 8/8.1 isn’t grabbing market share the way Microsoft hoped it would, even with Windows XP taken behind the shed.

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That reality must have finally hit Microsoft like a ton of bricks, and now the firm is changing gears — rather than release another major update to Windows 8.1, it’s going to add any upcoming changes to its monthly update schedule, better known as Patch Tuesday… READ MORE @ MaximumPC


[HARDWARE] Anti-Static / Anti-Drop / Anti-Shake / Water Resistant / Dust Resistant Hard Disk Drive Protect Case – ORICO PH Series Hard disk drive Protection Box is a Ultimate Bodyguard for your Hard Drive. High Strength Engineering ABS plastic hard shell style and indestructible, EVA Cushion surround every corner of your HDD inside. Easy lock and open mechanism make it user-friendly… READ MORE @ Amazon

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How To Type the “Degree” Symbol From The Keyboard

[FEATURED GEEK SQUEAK] How To Type the “Degree” Symbol From The Keyboard – I always like sharing personal experiences here on the blog to show that I don’t pull these things out of thin air. Recently I was generating a report where I was typing out weather conditions (such as outside temperature). As I continued doing this I would always type out the word “degree” for the temperature (i.e. 90 degrees). It was at that point I started wondering if there is a way to generate the degree symbol from the keyboard?

If you look at your keyboard you will not visually find the symbol or character reference for the “degree symbol.  What you have to do is use what is called “ALT CODES”…

If you hold down the Alt key and on the numeric keypad on the right of the keyboard, type 0176, or Alt+ 248, then when you release the Alt Key, a ° should be there.

If you are interested in learning some more ALT CODES, click on the ALT CODES REFERENCE SHEET below.

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[ COMMENTS ARE WELCOME – CLICK HERE ]

Learn a byte at a time, at What’s On My PC, with Geek Squeaks’ — featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, how to, Android, Windows, you name it… Be sure to check out MORE GEEK SQUEAKS BELOW!

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[PRODUCTIVITY SOFTWARE] Envelope Printer – While I could have used MS Office Word and other 3rd party programs to print out envelopes, I wanted something that was far easier to use and that required a heck of a lot less mouse clicks to get the job done. The program remembers your settings, so once all ready to go you can open the program, open the address book, choose the address hit use this address and the click print. 4 mouse clicks and you are done… @Tweaking.com

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[CLOUD STORAGE] How to tie your cloud storage services together – How can you tie your cloud storage services together?   It’s actually easy if you use MultCloud.   MultCloud ties together all of the most popular cloud storage services so you can upload files to multiple sites through a single sign-on… @TTC Shelbyville – Technical Blog

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[COMPRESSION SOFTWARE] ZipGenius handles more than 20 types of compression formats – It allows you to browse CD/DVD-ROM ISO image files as if they were common archives. It is the best companion for your daily tasks and you can even use it through command line module in batch operations… @ZipGenius

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[PORTABLE APP] A simple and free start menu application that can be installed on USB sticks or local PCs – Portable Start Menu organizes your programs in a simple menu system and launches them via a tray icon. If you close Portable Start Menu on an USB-Stick, running applications can be closed automatically, too… @Portable Start Menu

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[COMPUTER HARDWARE] Cable Matters USB 3.0 to SATA Hard Drive Docking Station – swappable access to 2.5″ and 3.5″ SATA HDD/SSD, without having to mount the hard drive, or installing it in an enclosure. It provides a simple, fast, and cost effective solution for data recovery, drive imaging, and testing centers, or any environment that requires fast access to uninstalled/archived drives.. @Amazon

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[HOW TO – TROUBLESHOOT] When your computer won’t turn on – A lot of problems can keep a computer from booting Windows (or any other operating system). Fortunately, you can get a pretty good idea by noting how and when the PC fails. If you press the power button and nothing happens, you’ve got a very different problem than if the PC starts but Windows never loads. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities… @PCWorld

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[TECH NEWS] How the Internet of Things knows where gunfire happens – SST’s ShotSpotter pinpoints outdoor, urban gunshots for law enforcement agencies. Now it’s moving indoors with a service for schools… @c|net

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