Save Time By Using These Essential Windows Shortcuts

Keyboard Shortcuts

Time for What Matters

The average person spends around 90,000 hours at work. These hours can cost us sleep, affect our mood and stress. Unfortunately there is no “get out of work free” card, but here are some essential Windows shortcuts that will help you save time. Continue reading

How To Spot A Tech Scam

Scammers swindle millions from people every day.

If your computer had a security problem, you’d want to know about it ASAP, right?

Before your important files are corrupted, your photos lost and your digital life destroyed. Even thinking about gives me the shivers.

Tech scammers know we’d be lost without our computers, and that we don’t always know what’s going on behind the screen – which is why they’ve been able to swindle millions from every day people across the world.

The scam goes like this:

ScamsOne day out of the blue you receive a phone call from someone with a heavy accent (usually Indian) saying they’re from Microsoft (or some other company) or worrying pop-up appears on your screen, saying your system has been infected with a virus.

To fix the problem, the caller or the pop up says you to download some support software, which they’ll give you a special link for.

A technician then uses that software to gain access to your system and make it appear your system is riddled with viruses. Flashing screens, mysterious diagnostics whizzing by, fabricated errors…they’ll do or say anything to make you panic. They’ll even go as far as claiming your system has been infected with illegal content and if not corrected you will face criminal charges.

Demands for credit card information follow soon after. Once the card details are provided, they simply stop fiddling with your system to make it seem the problem is fixed. To continue the scam, they’ll soon access your system to recreate the problem, this time offering a ongoing paid subscription for ongoing protection.

What To Do If You’re Targeted By A Tech Scam

1. Don’t taunt them. Just hang up. Right now you’re only a phone number in their system and they’ll move onto the next – if you give them cause to target you personally, you may find yourself in a dangerous situation.

The real Microsoft will never randomly call people like this. Ever.

2. If a pop-up appears, immediately run an anti-virus scan. Don’t click the pop-up or call the number.

What To Do If You’ve Already Been Scammed

It’s okay. It feels horrible, but you’re not alone and the situation can be corrected.

Call your financial institution and have the charges reversed and your card reissued. It’s easier than you might think and helps the authorities locate the scammers.

Then give us a call on 08 8326 4364 (or support@dpcomputing.com.au) and we’ll make sure they no longer have access to your computer.

Free Windows 10 Mini Course

Windows10For almost a year now Microsoft has been promoting (and even pushing) a “Get Windows 10 Free” upgrade to every PC running Windows 7 or 8. The upgrade has been very controversial due to Microsoft’s aggressive tactics – a lot of our customers have found themselves “upgraded” to Windows 10 without permission!

All that will end soon, as on July 29, 2016, the free upgrade offer will finish, forever (really). So should you take advantage of this free offer while you still can?

This is not a “one-size-fits-all” situation – there are quite a few computer models which aren’t fully compatible with Windows 10 – if you upgrade you may find your mouse,  network or say printer doesn’t work quite right anymore. And a few (very few) applications that run on Windows 7 won’t run properly on 10. (The good news is if you decide you don’t want the upgrade it’s easy to revert back to your previous Windows if you do so in the first 30 days after the upgrade).

But overall the new Windows 10 has had mostly positive reviews, and it’s designed to be more secure and more cloud-and-touch-friendly than Windows 7 without being as shockingly different as Windows 8. Plus Windows 10 will be supported by Microsoft for the foreseeable future, where Windows 7 will become unsafe to use in 2020 (and
Windows 8 in 2023). If your hardware is in good shape then taking advantage of the free upgrade may save you from buying a new computer for a few more years.

Windows 7’s support ends January 2020,  Windows 8’s ends January 2023. Windows 10, if kept updated, is expected to last long after 2025.

Still, after the debacle that was Windows 8 and Microsoft’s pushiness with the free upgrade many people are hesitant to upgrade. So if you want to learn more about Windows 10 and what it’s like to use BEFORE you upgrade, we’ve got a deal for you. Our partners at Bigger Brains are allowing us to post their “Windows 10 Essentials” training course right here on our website for you for FREE until July 29 (Click the screenshot below).
free windows 10 training

If that is not enough we even have another Windows 10 Tutorial video which you can check out here on Youtube:

Check out the award winning free course HERE. And for a full year of Bigger Brains training, including courses on Excel, QuickBooks, Outlook, Gmail, HIPAA and 50 more, ask us about our $79 special!

What’s So Good About Windows 10?

MS Windows 10 has just been released. We have written this blog and produced some videos to help you decide whether to upgrade to Windows 10.

To get a great feel for the new operating system, check out our Windows 10 Tutorial and Windows 10 First Looks & Impressions video.

 

While no computer program or operating system is perfect, Microsoft is getting a lot of things right with Windows 10.  Some of the highlights include:

  • The return of the Start menu Many of the folks who experienced the previous operating system, Windows 8, were very put off by the Start screen, which highlighted “metro-style” apps and live tiles. In Windows 10 Microsoft have brought back a more familiar style start menu in the lower left corner of the screen.  It is a hybrid between the Windows 7 start menu and the Windows 8 app-driven start screen. It is highly customisable and makes it easy to access most things you need on a daily basis. If you love the start screen though don’t despair as Microsoft gives users the option of using the new start menu or the Windows 8 style start screen. 
  • Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant.  Cortana is a bit like Siri, Apple’s voice-driven assistant.  In Windows 10, Cortana will be available on every device – phone, tablet, desktop and laptop.  You can essentially talk to your computer to perform searches or access information on your computer. Cortana learns about you and will start to use what she knows to offer increasingly relevant information when you ask for it.  
  • Microsoft Edge, the new web browser.  Windows 10 introduces Edge the new web page browser. Edge is very minimalist compared to Internet Explorer. There are no toolbars, icons and settings to get in the way of viewing various web pages. Internet Explorer can still be installed in Windows 10 for users who must use it for compatibility reasons. You are also free to install other web browsers, like Google Chrome or Firefox.  
  • Virtual desktops – Users will be able to set up multiple desktops on their Windows 10 computers.  For example, you can set up a desktop with all of your work-related icons and a separate desktop for all of your personal items.  Another use might be to set up a different desktop for each user in your home, rather than separate accounts for each user.  
  • Free upgrade for the first year.  For users who are running Windows 7 (service pack 1) or Windows 8.1, Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade for the first year after it is released.  If you don’t upgrade within that year you will have to buy the operating system.  

Should You Upgrade to Windows 10?

While I believe that Windows 10 will be successful for Microsoft, I would strongly advise you not to upgrade straight away once it is released. The initial release may still have some bugs to work out which may cause issues on your computer.  It may be better to wait a few months for these to be worked out.  

When you do decide that you want to upgrade, here are some things that you will need to do first:

  • Make a complete backup of your system.  If something goes wrong during the upgrade process, you want to have a way to restore your computer to the way it was before the upgrade.  The easiest way to do this is to use the built-in tools with Windows 7 or 8 to create a system image on an external hard drive.
  • Install all of the latest updates on your operating system.  It would be best to run Windows updates on your system prior to an upgrade to be sure that you have the latest security and system patches.
  • Make sure that your current software and hardware is compatible with Windows 10.  Everything may run just fine on your current system but it may not run smoothly on Window 10.  Microsoft will release a compatibility tool which will inform you if your hardware and software will work with Windows 10.  We recommend that you install the latest device drivers for your computer (particularly video and network devices) prior to upgrading.  
  • Be sure to back up your data.  In addition to a full system upgrade, it would be wise to create a separate copy of your critical data (documents, pictures, music, videos, etc.) prior to upgrading. You should be doing this on a regular basis anyway.

Upgrading your operating system is a daunting task for most users.  If you are in Adelaide South Australia and feel that this is beyond your technical ability, we encourage you to give us a call. We will be offering a special Windows 10 upgrade service to our customers beginning in early August.

Can I return to Windows 8 / 7?

If for what ever reason you don’t like Windows 10 you can revert back to your operating system if you did an upgrade install.  To do this follow these steps:

  1. Click StartSettings or type Settings in the search bar.
  2. Click on Update & Security and then the Recovery section on the left hand side.
  3.  Then under the Go Back to Windows 7 (or 8) heading click on the Get Started button.
  4. Then follow the prompts.

Note: you may lose data and or programs so remember to backup all your data.

 

If you have any questions please leave a comment below and we wil try our best to help you out.

MS Windows 10 First Impressions

Windows10
Many of you may be aware of the fact that Microsoft released Windows 10 today. Well I logged into the Microsoft Partner Portal earlier and downloaded the MAPS (Microsoft Action Pack) copy of the Enterprise edition. I then loaded it up in a virtual machine and had a quick play around with it. This article lists some of the new features and hopefully helps you decide whether to upgrade or not. Also check out our video below to see how Windows 10 looks and feels.

The Start Menu

Many of the folks who experienced the previous operating system, Windows 8, were very put off by the Start screen, which highlighted “metro-style” apps and live tiles. In Windows 10 Microsoft have brought back a more familiar style start menu in the lower left corner of the screen.  The menu is a bit of a hybrid between the Windows 7 start menu and the Windows 8 app-driven start screen. It features live tiles and is highly customisable. If you love the start screen though don’t despair as Microsoft gives users the option of using the new start menu or the Windows 8 style start screen. 

Cortana

Cortana is a bit like Siri, Apple’s voice-driven assistant.  You can essentially talk to your computer to perform searches or access information on your computer. Unfortunately I tried to use Cortana but was met with a “feature not available in your region” error (I’m located in Australia). As this was the first day of release I was a bit disappointed but hopefully it will be available soon.  

Microsoft Edge 

Internet Explorer has been replaced with Edge. Edge is very minimalist compared to Internet Explorer – there are no toolbars, icons and settings to get in the way of viewing various web pages.  I haven’t fully tested it but it seemed nice and fast. Users can also install their favourite browser though (eg Google Chrome, Firefox or even the “old” Internet Explorer).  

Should You Upgrade to Windows 10?

While I believe that Windows 10 will be successful for Microsoft, I would strongly advise you not to upgrade straight. I haven’t fully tested everything yet but this release may still have some bugs to work out which may cause issues on your computer.  It may be better to wait a few months for these to be worked out.  

When you do decide that you want to upgrade, here are some things that you will need to do first:

  • Make a complete backup of everything on your system.  If something goes wrong during the upgrade process, you want to have a way to restore your computer to the way it was before the upgrade.  The easiest way to do this is to use the built-in tools with Windows 7 or 8 to create a system image on an external hard drive.  
  • Install all of the latest updates on your operating system.  It would be best to run Windows updates on your system prior to an upgrade to be sure that you have the latest security and system patches.
  • Make sure that your current software and hardware is compatible with Windows 10.  Everything may run just fine on your current system but it may not run smoothly on Window 10.  Microsoft will release a compatibility tool which will inform you if your hardware and software will work with Windows 10.  We recommend that you install the latest device drivers for your computer (particularly video and network devices) prior to upgrading.  
  • Be sure to back up your data.  In addition to a full system upgrade, it would be wise to create a separate copy of your critical data (documents, pictures, music, videos, etc.) prior to upgrading. You should be doing this on a regular basis anyway.

Upgrading your operating system is a daunting task for most users.  If you are in Adelaide South Australia and feel that this is beyond your technical ability, we encourage you to give us a call. We will be offering a special Windows 10 upgrade service to our customers beginning in early August.

 

Introduction to MS Windows 8

Windows 8 is Microsoft attempt to bring together the interface on both computers, smart phones and tablets. This has made the interface different to older operating systems such as MS Windows 7 and XP and has confused a lot of people. We have put together a video tutorial which guides you through the basics of Windows 8 and shows you the shortcuts on how you can get the best use out of the new operating system.

Topics included in the video are:

  • the new Windows 8 features.
  • start screen.
  • the charms bar.
  • Windows 8 Apps (aka Metro Apps).
  • the desktop.
  • Snapit.
  • various other shortcuts, tips and tricks.

Check out our YouTube video on our YouTube channel listed below:

Windows 8 Tutorialhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wAlVz3tJvw

The video is targetted at new users or people thinking of upgrading to Windows 8. If you have any questions or comments on the video please leave them below.

General IT and Computer Troubleshooting Tips

Frustrated computer user

Don’t get frustrated  when your computer plays up. Check out the tips and tricks here to see if you  can easily solve the issue.
DISCLAIMER: DP  Computing will not be held responsible for any damage or data loss to your  system. If you are in doubt over something or if anything is different to what  you see on your computer contact DP  Computing.

  1. Take a deep  breath and don’t panic. Stand up and step back from your computer.  You need to approach things in a calm, and controlled manner. Panicking won’t  help solve the problem, and it could make things much worse.
  2. Save your current  work.Before doing anything, if you can, make sure you save your  current work so that you don’t lose it. Save it on the hard drive or on a USB  drive. It doesn’t matter where just make sure you save it.
  3. Backup your  critical data.If it looks like your hard drive may crash or the  computer may not start up again, take steps to backup all of your critical data  while it is still working and before you turn it off. Hopefully you have a  recent full backup and will only have to backup your most recent documents.  Consider copying the data to a network drive, USB drive or burning it onto a  CD-ROM.
  4. Check with others  in your office. Ask if anyone else in the office is having the same  issues.
  5. Reboot your  computer / modem / peripheral. Turn off the device you are having  issues with, let it sit for a 10 seconds, and reboot it. Sometimes one command  of the hundreds a computer executes every second can cause corrupted memory or  other unexplainable problems. Rebooting will clear out all the gremlins and  gives everything a fresh-start.
  6. What did you do  last? Did your problems start just after you installed a new  software program or some other update or change? This can be a great clue as to  the source of a problem. Undoing what you just did may solve the problem.
  7. Is everything  plugged in properly? Asking this a question may seem very basic, but  you will be surprised how often it can often be the fix you are looking for.  Cables get knocked or work themselves loose over time. Make sure they are all  snug and tight. If you want to look under the hood, and are comfortable doing  so, ideally you should check the cables and connections within your computer  case as well. You should also make sure all cards and memory are firmly seated  by gently but firmly pushing them into their respective slots.

Generally a tech  will need to be called in now. If it is an emergency and a technician is not  available consider going through the following steps as  well.

  1. Is your hardware  happy?Unhappy hardware is often the source of problems. To check  your hardware, right-click on My Computer, select Properties, click on the  Hardware tab, and then the Device Manager button. This will open the Device  Manager dialog box. It lists all the hardware devices on your computer. Devices  that aren’t working properly will have a yellow exclamation mark next to them.  Double-click on the problem devices to open a dialog box that may have details  on the problem, and a listing of suggestions on how to fix it.
  2. Check your  computer for nasties. Run a complete system scan with your  anti-virus software (make sure you update your virus definitions before you run  the scan). You can do a free online scan at TrendMicro’s Web site (http://housecall.trendmicro.com/au/).  You should also scan your computer for adware, spyware, or other malware with a  product like Malwarebytes (http://www.malwarebytes.org). Scanning your machine with these  products can be helpful as sometimes you will find something that one product  missed.
  3. Install software  or driver updates. If it seems one program or hardware device is  acting up, check the manufacturer’s Web site for updates. The code in most  software is thousands if not millions of lines long and it is impossible for  software companies to find all the bugs in their programs. As users discover  problems, software and hardware manufacturers often release revised software or  updated drivers that include new code to address newly discovered problems.
  4. Contact the  manufacturers support team. If you get as far as this step, your  problem is probably more complex. Most hardware and software manufacturers now  have extensive support information. Phone the appropriate support company for  further assistance.
  5. Still having  problems? • A technician will need to diagnose the issue. Contact DP Computing now to arrange a technician to  visit your site. • Document the detailed description of the problem and  the exact wording of any error messages. Knowing exactly what is wrong and being  able to share the message is critical to determining a solution. • Consider whether or not the problem occurs at random times or at  consistent/specific times. Random and/or intermittent problems are usually more  difficult to diagnose and fix. But if a problem occurs at a specific time and  you can reproduce the problem, the technician may be able to isolate the problem  to help find a solution.

DP Computing are a computer  support company providing IT consulting and support services throughout Adelaide  and the surrounding areas to SMB’s (small and medium sized businesses). If you  need any type of computer or IT help please contact  us.
A full list of services to  help small and medium sized businesses (SMB’s) is provided on our computer services page.