Microsoft Surface Fits Where?

Surface

I was handed a Microsoft Surface at work and asked to find out where or how it would fit into our daily workflow. We now have multiple devices for every employee. So where will this device fit in and just how good is it? I have been using an iPad as my tablet for years and I make it work with apps that I use day to day. I can say with the Surface being a Windows device it makes more sense in business that is a Microsoft shop such as we are. The screen size seems a little larger than the iPad which is nice. And the keyboard is attached even with a magnet that is better than the one I carry around with the iPad. It is also nice that I can connect the Surface to the same docking system we are using for our Windows laptops. I might have to give that more of a try and make sure everything works. I did just notice that I need to find a way to turn off the trackpad when using a mouse?

As you might have guessed I am writing this posting using the Surface and I find the keyboard is not bad. It has a little spring action on this model but I think this model is a few years older but still working well. I did upgrade it to Windows 1903 and everything seems to be working well. I think with a little practice I can get used to the keyboard. I just got the touchpad turned off when the mouse is connected. Progress is a good thing.

I will give you more updates as I become more aware of how this device works with our office workflows and do some more testing with this device.

Reset Windows 10 Computers

You might ask why would I want to reset my computer? Or if you reset will you lose all of your files? Let’s first talk about why you would want to reset your computer or better yet Windows 10. From time to time many people say their computer is running slow. It must be getting too old? Well, the truth is that your computer is just getting bogged down with to much junk over time. If you do a full system reset you will find your computer will run like it came out of the box. The second question is will you lose all of your files? The answer is NO! When you go to do this system reset simply select the option that will save all of your files. The best way to do a system reset is to back all of your files up either on an external hard drive or a flash drive or better yet cloud storage. Next, perform a full system reset and remove all old files this will make for a cleaner running system.

So how can we do this you might be asking? It is very simple to perform a system reset. First, click on the Start Button and in the search box type Reset and click on the top result. It should look like this.

Search ResetOnce you open the System Reset select which one you wish to perform. You will get a couple warning messages just keep clicking OK. The system will begin to reset. This will install a fresh copy of Windows 10 onto the machine.

System ResetOnce your computer is done cleaning up files and removing anything it does not need the computer will reboot and you will see this screen. Just keep the computer plugged in and leave it until it returns to the setup screen. Resetting

The computer has been fully reset when you come up to this final window and begin the post set up phase.Post Setup

 

 

 

Update Windows 10 Before November

1803 Warning

I was working with my home laptop this morning and this message popped up in the lower right of my screen. This is Microsoft giving you time to update your computer. Microsoft will no longer support Windows 10 1803. What is 1803? This is a build version. Windows will always be called Windows 10 at this point but there will always be updated builds.

So how do you see which build or version you have on your computer? Right-click on your start button and left-click on system.

Right Click

Once the System panel opens up scroll down and look for Windows Specs and you will see the version.

System

If you are using 1803 or anything earlier I would suggest you update your computer now. Always make sure you keep up on the updates to ensure you are always getting the current security updates.

Windows 10 20H1 Preview

Windows 10 20H1 Preview

Today I have begun to test the newest Windows 10 20H1 Preview release of Windows 10.

The first error I found was when I was creating the bootable USB from the ISO I downloaded from Microsoft. I used the recommended settings on Rufus and created a Partition scheme as GPT and a Target system UEFI. When I tried to boot onto my 8-year-old test laptop is would not boot legacy I had to make some changes. I had to recreate my bootable USB to Partition scheme (MBR) and the Target system (BIOS). Once these changes were made the OS installed fine on my test system.

SettingsI installed Windows 10 Pro and was impressed that the Start Menu was not cluttered with all of the junk any longer. In business, it takes us hours cleaning up all of the un-needed icons on the start menu. This will be a big-time saver.

New Start Cleaner

I did join the new release to the Domain and found it connected as normal and I had no issues pushing Group Policies to the new test machine. I will make notes as I continue to test the new Windows Release and see what new features I can find for you. I would suggest that you sign up for the FREE preview and begin testing the new releases also.

Two Step Authentication Password Protection

Google

We all have them and we all use them every day in one way or another. We also trust the companies that we use them to keep our information hidden.  What are we talking about? Well Passwords of course. Let’s talk a minute about trusting the companies that you deal with to keep your information and passwords secure. Remember hearing about the Target Breach? So you say you don’t shop at Target or one of the many other retail chains that have been breached. Well, I know you use a password for your banking or even your email. How many people use the same password on every site they visit? If your user name and password gets picked up and put on a public list then you could stand to be hacked on any number of your accounts. Sound scary? Well, it should and you need to take steps to protect yourself.

Step up to what is known as Two Factor Authentication. You can use the FREE app on your smartphone shown above called Google Authenticator or there is one by Microsoft. The idea with these apps is once you turn on Two-Factor on the sites you visit whenever you log into the site it will show the message above. You then open the app on your phone and it will give you an ever-changing number that you enter to access your site. I have also found that if a site does not support this tool they will have a way that they will text you a number to enter to ensure that it is YOU trying to access your account.

I hear you now. This will take to much time to get into my accounts. Wonder if I don’t have my phone sitting next to me? How can I share my account with others NEVER DO THIS! The simple truth is this. We all take an extra minute to lock our house when we go to work and we all take the extra minute to lock our cars before walking away from them. Why not take an EXTRA SECOND to protect all of your ONLINE accounts?

Upgrading Your Computer with an SSD Drive

SSD Drive

Upgrading a computer from the old spinning hard drives to a new SSD will make your computer faster. With no spinning disks, the computer will be able to seek your applications and data so much faster. I have also found that this will add new life to your computer and you will get a few more years out of an aging PC.

We have been seeing hard drive failures over the past few months. This makes sense because all of the computers were purchased around the same time. Replacing a drive is a simple process and you should also re-install everything onto the new drive. I never like cloning the drive because you will most likely be pulling over old information that was making your computer run slow in the first place.

One thing to look out for is the connectors for the hard drives. I hope by now that you have SATA cables in your computer. If you have the older cables you can buy adapters to convert the connectors to the new SATA style. Remember to check first before you buy your new SSD drives so you can order connectors if you need them. If you want to upgrade your computer and you are not sure how to do this please reach out to me and I will be able to help.

Keeping Your Computer Running Fast

MalwareBytes

When we buy a new computer and take it out of the box most peoples first reaction is that this new computer is so fast! But over time as you use the computer from day in and day out you might start to notice that the computer is running slower and slower. After a few months of the computer running slower, many of us would simply toss the computer and buy a new one.

For me, that is like your car running out of gas and you run out and buy a new one with a full tank. Sounds pretty dumb right? Well, there is a better way. We need to clean our computers and have routine maintenance. We all worry about our cars and getting the oil changed but I have found not many people out there give this same care and understanding to their computers.

Computers run slow over time because as we use them on the Internet even if we are very careful Spyware or Adware can begin to clog up our machines. So do we toss it in the scrap pile? NO, We need to clean it and get it running like new again.

One of my favorite tools for this is MalwareBytes. There is a FREE version. Once you download and install this tool you need to then run it on the computer. It will clean all of these bad files from Spyware and Adware. With the FREE version, you have to run it when you want to clean your machine. For continued worry-free cleaning of your system, you will need the paid version. It just happens I am a reseller of this great software and can get it for you at a discount. Contact me if you would like to get the full version of the software. And don’t worry if you are not a computer geek. I can remote to your machine and do the install and cleaning for you. So don’t buy a new computer, clean your TODAY!

Does Operating Systems Matter

Operating Systems

I have been working with computers since the early day’s of DOS, yes we didn’t even have a graphical user interface. When you wanted the computer to do something most of the time you would have to be able to write a program and then do the project.

Then came Apple and Windows with their pretty point and click graphical user interface. You wanted to open an application you simply double clicked on it and it opened. What was even more impressive was the fact that you could have multiple applications opened at the same time. Which I believe was the beginning of giving all of us a little OCD. This is because we could be working on one project and quickly switch to another application and look at the news. You may do this today? You are working on a large project and you open another tab and check your email or facebook?

At one time the operating system meant that you choose it because of the application you are used to using. Such as running Microsoft Windows because you are a Microsoft Office user. Or using a Mac because you enjoy using Final Cut Pro. Or you might have been a FREE type of person and you went with Linux?

In today’s modern computer world the operating system is really the less important thing on the computer. Why is this? Easy most software vendors have found that programming for the web is the best choice for their applications. I am working on a large database program now and after careful consideration, I decided to write it for any web browser. Why would I choose to do this? I am like the big guys. I want my application to work on any operating system as well as any device that may could be invented for years to come. As long as there is a way to view the Internet I can adjust my program to run on that device.

We see in schools today most of the daily work is done inside of the browser. We have Google Suite and Office 365. Kids take their tests using a web browser. Teachers are teaching from the web browser. So you can see that the operating system basically boils down to what you want to look at all day.

One last thought of today’s post. This is why when Google released the Chromebook it is such a great hit. Because people who use a computer know that the only place they will be spending their day is inside of a web browser and most people choose to use Google Chrome so why not buy a full function laptop for a few hundred dollars and put the saving into some other form of technology.

Just Got A Apple Watch

Apple Watch

My wife just bought me an Apple Watch for my birthday. This is something I have been looking at ever since they were released. The only reason I never bought one is that I didn’t know how it would fit into my daily lifestyle?

My main issue with not getting an Apple Watch long before now was it is a device that attaches to my phone. Why would I want this when I already have an iPhone? I can pull out my phone and check my email, help tickets, messages and yes even the time. So why would I need a watch that just extends these features?

Well, step over to the Apple Watch. With the Apple Watch on I don’t have to dig into my pocket just to check my latest emails, they are now pushed right to my phone. When I get a text message I’m not digging in my pocket either I just look down at my watch and there is the message, I hit reply and speak into the watch and hit send to drop a quick message back. I often use my phone to check the weather or outside temp, now I just look down at my watch and it shows me the temp all day without having to open an app. When my phone rings it now vibrates my watch and I can answer the call from my arm again without having to take the phone out of my pocket.

So is the Apple Watch a killer gadget? NO! Can you run your day form your Smart Phone? YES! But overall does the Apple Watch make you more productive in and out of the work environment? YES! And I don’t worry about dropping my phone everytime I need to text or answer a call, I can do all of this from the device strapped to my wrist. Is the Apple Watch for everyone, it could be but not really.

Then you might be asking yourself why am I so impressed with the Apple Watch? Well for the reasons above and remember I am a gadget kind of guy. I just really wish there one day will be a KILLER APP for the Apple Watch that works better on the watch than the iPhone. But for now, there is not a KILLER APP. I will keep you informed if I find one sometime.

Please let me know if you have an Apple Watch and let me know what you think of using it and maybe if and how it changed your life?

Mac’s In Business

Mac Computers

When I first started my career in the computer field it was all about the PC and the Windows operating system. We would go into a business and set up a Windows Server and Windows Workstations and install Microsoft Office. Mostly everyone in the office was familiar with Windows because that is what they had at home.

Today’s business world is changing. If you are in the IT field now you may walk into an office thinking you will be troubleshooting a PC issue and find an entire office full of Mac’s?  Will you be ready to take on the challenge or will you be running for the door?

I relate this back to our children going to school. I have found more and more school districts using Mac’s in their classroom rooms for one purpose or another. I also see more young people going to college and taking a Mac Book with them. They might also be carrying an iPad and an iPhone. Students become comfortable with using the Apple products and when they leave school they want to stick with the platform.

If you are reading this and you are a technical person I would suggest to start learning the Apple ecosystem.  If you really want to support the Apple clients pick up a Mac Book or to start maybe a second hand newer Mac Mini and begin to learn what makes an Apple computer tick. Chances are you have an iPhone in your pocket right now and maybe even an iPad?

So you may be asking am I a Mac guy? Well, I use Mac’s at home as well as work. But I also use a lot more Windows machines at work then there are Mac’s. But I enjoy both for different reasons. I would like to hear your take on this subject.