Recent Microsoft and Apple Updates – Causing Stress And Confusion
I’ve had a rash of calls from people complaining that Windows Update is tying up their computers for hours and hours, or that their iPads or iPhones are suddenly looking and acting very differently. Don’t feel bad, I’ve had the same issues!
I knew changes were coming but I didn’t anticipate the upset they would cause. It might have been easier if I had warned you beforehand. You still would have had to deal with the inconvenience but it might have been less shocking. Next time I will give you a heads up.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update stalled and locked up my computer on two different days. I had to “pull the plug” so I could reboot. On the third try, it tied up my computer for more than six hours! It took over my PC at 6:00 PM, wasn’t finished when I went to bed at 11:00 PM. Fortunately, my main computer is a Chromebook!
Window Update Locking Up Your Computer?
If the Windows update gremlins have taken over your computer and it seems to be all locked up, check to see if the hard drive light is blinking. If it’s blinking, the update is working and you just need to be patient. If it’s not blinking, the system is locked up. You will need to hold down the power button to turn it off. Then turn it back on.
PC Running Slow?
If your PC is running slow, be sure you are up to date on your maintenance tasks. If you are using Windows 10, you can turn off the “live tiles”, and disable Cortana. (Use right click on your mouse to see the options.)
New Features in Windows 10
I didn’t find any of the Windows 10 “new features” to be particularly exciting, but I like things simple.
Microsoft is trying to be more like Apple and Google products. This started with the Windows 8 debacle. Big Mistake! They are way behind and don’t do it well. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
The Edge web browser still isn’t as good as Google Chrome or Firefox.
On the positive side, Windows 10 is a more stable and secure operating system.
If you need help with the update, new features or maintenance, just let me know.
A message appered, letting me know that an update was available and giving me choices of “install now” or “remind me later.” (I always wait a couple of weeks, until I’m sure that any glitches have been fixed.)
In the software update screen, above the “Install Now” button, there was a brief introduction with an explanation of the reason for the update and a complete list of all the new features–in plain English!
I agreed to the terms of service and the update screen showed me a brightly lit screen with the Apple logo and a bar indicating the progress of the update. (No wondering what’s going on, no locking up.)
Things look a little different but there are some very practical and useful new features. The best one is that my fingerprint on the button works much better and I don’t have to swipe to get past the lock screen. I have to laugh because I’m still swiping after several days. Old habits die hard don’t
Let me know what you think in the comments below. I’ll tell you my faves if you’ll tell me yours….
Why are there fewer problems with Apple?
One main reasons there are fewer problems with Apple products, is that Apple controls both the hardware and the software, whereas Microsoft is in control of only the software.
Microsoft’s new operating system has to be compatible with hardware from many different manufacturers, machines that are very old, and machines that have software from other companies that can cause conflicts.
When Apple’s operating system becomes a problem for their old hardware, they just let you know that your device has become obsolete and you’ll have to buy a new one. This is not good news, but it prevents you from limping along and being constantly frustrated.
It’s not your fault
These issues are not the result of anything you have done. Technology is a full time job for me and I can barely keep up myself! My mission is to keep things simple, easy and fun for you in spite of the constant changes. Please let me know if you are having trouble. If you have any questions, need tech support or moral support, I’m here for you.
You Can Help Others
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You may remember that, back in July when Windows 10 originally became available, I recommended that everyone wait until “the bugs were worked out.” Now that Windows 10 has been available for five months and “the dust has settled,” it’s time to give you an update.
I recommend that people who are running Windows 7 on older machines do not upgrade to Windows 10. Updating to Windows 10 has caused some computers to lock up or crash, and I have had to refer several clients to a computer technician for expensive repairs. I recommend that people with Windows 7 wait until it’s time to get a new computer. (If your computer is 4 years old…it’s time to get a new one!)
People with Windows 8 on their machines can probably update to Windows 10 without problems. They will find that it is much less confusing. (They might want to have me tweak the settings so so it looks like good ‘ol Windows 7.)
People who are are making the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 because they survived the update or got a new computer, may want to have me tweak the settings so it looks like Windows 7, and take them on a tour of the new features.
For many reasons, that I won’t go into here, I have been very disappointed with Microsoft and its products and recommend avoiding them if possible. (You probably don’t want all the gory details but if you do, just ask.) There are other computers systems that are easier to use and more reliable. I have been using a Chromebook for almost 2 years and it cost less than $300! I also highly recommend Apple computers and tablets. Of course the choice depends on how you use them and your budget.
When it’s time to make a purchase, please consult with me first.So many problems and frustrations can be avoided by choosing the right equipment for your individual needs, and I can often save people a lot of money.
I also do free presentations on “How To Choose The Right Computers and Gadgets for Your Needs”. If you know a group that would like me to speak, just let me know.
Why Use Skype?
Skype is an app that lets you connect with people using the video camera on your computer or mobile device.
Face Time does the same thing, but only works with Apple products. Even if you use Face Time, it’s a good idea to know how to use Skype as well. They are both very simple and easy to use and they are truly one of the best benefits of modern technology.
A friend of mine uses Skype to play checkers with her 9 yr. old grandson who lives out of state.
Parents use it to stay in touch with their children when they have to be away on business trips or vacations. They can read the children a bedtime story, watch them get tucked into bed, and throw them a kiss goodnight.
Several clients have had me show them how to use Skype for important job interviews. We practiced calling each other, chose the most flattering camera angle, picked the most attractive background, and discussed what to wear. It is so rewarding to see people gain confidence and be optimistic about getting the job!
Video chat is great for online dating and long-distance relationships too.
Businesses use Skype for video conferencing because they can have multiple people on a video call. They save a lot of money on air travel, hotels and meals.
On an internet enabled big screen TV, it can feel like you’re actually in the room with distant family members. You can even watch each other open Christmas presents!
On mobile phones, you can only use audio for group calls, but on your computer or internet enabled TV you can do video conference calls.
Skype also supports audio calls to traditional phones. Using Skype on your tablet or smartphone, you can call somebody on a regular telephone. This is really handy if you are traveling and don’t have access to phone service but do have access to wifi.
One of my clients who is retired from the Foreign Service, learned how to use Skype so he could stay in touch with his friends all over the world for free.
All of the features of Skype are free, except calling people on regular telephones. However, Skype phone calls are a lot less expensive than traditional long distance calls.
How to Use Skype
Skype is a free download from the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store and is already installed with Windows 10 and Window phones. (It’s owned by Microsoft.)
You need to have an account to use Skype. You can set up a free account or, if you already have a Microsoft account, you can just log in with that.
On iPads, iPhones, Android phones, and Android tablets, each version of Skype will look a little different but the functionality is the same. There are just a few minor differences on each device
When you login you will see three screens
- RECENT- shows the most list of people most recently talked to
- FAVORITES – shows the contacts you have marked as favorites
- PEOPLE – is your list of people you can call on Skype. They have to have an account also and they have to agree to be connected with you.
To Add a Contact
Search for the person in the Skype database. There are millions of people in the Skype database and lots of people with the same name…even unusual names. It’s amazing!
Therefore, the quickest and easiest way to find people is to search for their unique Skype name. Email address work sometimes too because there aren’t duplicates of those but it’s really easier to ask your person for their skype name.
When you find them, tap the button that says “add people.” Then tap “send a contact request.”
The person’s name will show up on your contact list but, they will not show up as online and accessible until they have accepted your request.
After they accept your request, you will be able to see their status next to their name, which lets you know when they are online for you to call them.
Note: some people leave the Skype app open all the time to receive calls. Other people text or email each other to set a time and then open the app. It depends on how often they use it.
To make a call
Select a contact and you will see buttons at the bottom of the screen. You can choose to do a video call or an audio call. They both work pretty much the same. Tap on the button for audio or video. The camera starts running right away so you can frame up your shot while you wait for the other person to pick up.
After you start talking, the buttons at the bottom of the screen will fade out of the way, but when you tap on the screen, they’ll pop up again.
You can mute and unmute your audio by hitting the mute button.
You can disable the camera by hitting the camera button if you want to talk and see them without them seeing you.
When you’re done, just hit the red hang up button.
To receive an incoming call
The app will make a sound and you will see a choice of buttons.
If you don’t want to answer a call, you can just hit the red button.
If you want to answer but only want to use audio, then hit the green button in the middle.
To see video and hear audio, hit the camera button.
To hang up, tap on the screen to bring up the controls and hit the red button
You can also use Skype to have a text chat.
On the screen, with a contact’s information, tap on the field that says “type a message”. Type and then hit the Send button. When he responds, you’ll see his response pop up.
Calling regular telephones
This feature is particularly useful when you’re traveling to a place where you won’t have a cellular phone connection, but you will have wifi.
This is called Voice Over IP, or VOIP. Using this feature, you can call a regular phone as long as you can connect to Skype on your mobile device.
This is the one feature that is not free but Skype is much less expensive than traditional long distance rates. To get an idea of the pricing options, check out their website. http://www.skype.com/en/
You can login to your Skype account on the website and add Skype credit to your account.
Or in the app on your mobile device, you can hit the “my account” button (top right), and there’s an option for “Skype credit”. This way, it’s an “in-app” purchase and it will be charged to your iTunes account or Play Store account. It will ask for your password for confirmation. Then hit “Buy”.
To make a call to a regular phone
At the bottom of the screen, there’s a dialer button and you can just dial a regular phone number. Also, there’s a button at the top that links directly to the address book on your device so you can find the person and tap on the number. When you hit the phone button at the bottom, it will dial. When he answers, you will be having a conversation just as if you were using a regular telephone. To hang up, just hit the red button at the bottom
Skype is a great app for video and audio calls because it runs on all mobile devices and computers no matter what platform. Group video calls are not available on mobile devices but video calls to individuals work.
I hope you will try this and enjoy it. If you need help, just let me know.
Please share this with your friends and relatives. Your referrals are the heart of my business and my mission is to help people more fully enjoy the many benefits of modern technology.
With new technology, it’s best to wait until the bugs have been worked out…to wait until the “early adopters” have found the major problems and the company has had a chance to fix them. We’ve seen this recently with the release of the iPhone 6 and the Apple watch. Now, Microsoft is offering PC users the opportunity to upgrade their operating system (OS) to Windows 10 for free and people may be wondering if that is a good idea. It’s not!
Microsoft’s wants it’s Windows 10 operating system to be installed on 1 billion devices within three years so it’s giving it away for free. I doubt that this is going to be enough of an incentive for people to change. Even though Windows 10 will look very similar to Windows 8.1, people who use Windows 8.1 vividly remember how traumatic that change was, and will be hesitant to trust the new one. Windows 7 users are determined to avoid going through that.
People running Windows 7 or Windows 8, should already have had an invitation to “reserve” a copy of Windows 10.
If not, they can run Windows Update to see if any updates are available for their PC. The one to they want is KB3035583. This puts a small white Windows logo – the GWX, “Get Windows 10” app – in the system tray on the right hand side of the Taskbar.
Alternatively, they should be able to find the invitation by going to Windows Update in the Control Panel (via System and Security)
The point of “reserving” the upgrade
The point of reserving the upgrade is to allow Microsoft to download Windows 10 – probably 4GB or more – to PCs in the background over a period of time. It doesn’t want to download the code to 400 million PCs on the same day. Even if someone reserves Windows 10 now, they may not be invited to install it for days or weeks after the official launch on July 29.
To cancel a reservation
Right-click on GWX, the white Windows icon on the Taskbar, select “Check your upgrade status” and then “Cancel reservation”.
How can People avoid Windows 10?
Nobody is forcing people to get Windows 10. If they don’t want it, they don’t have to reserve it or install it.
To remove the reminder, right-click on Start and select Properties. Next, go to the Taskbar tab, click the button that says “Customize …”, and find GWX, the Get Windows 10 app. The drop-down menu offers the option to “Hide icon and notifications”.
To go further, run Windows Update and click “View update history” to see all the updates installed. Look for KB3035583, select it, and then click to uninstall or change it. Windows will ask “Are you sure?” Just click “Yes”. It will never bother you again … unless you reinstall KB3035583.
Can they downgrade later if they don’t like it?
Microsoft aims to enable people to “roll back” to their old operating system, if required. However, I wouldn’t rely on this. In any case, it would be wise to backup the old system before installing a new and use the option to create “recovery media” with the old system, so that they’re not totally dependent on the “roll back” working. Remember, you, and you alone, are responsible for preserving your own data.
The software which will begin rolling out July 29, will be offered as a free upgrade for all Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PC and Tablet users. (Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 operate 74.1 percent of all devices, according to NetMarketShare.)
Unlike Apple, who offers OS upgrades for free, the Windows free upgrade will only be available for one year…until July 29, 2016.
For those eligible for the free upgrade, the process will only grant you a comparable version of the software. If you had Windows 7 Home, you get Windows 10 Home. If you had Windows 8.1 Pro, you get Windows 10 Pro. For those who wish to upgrade from the Home edition to the Pro edition, a Windows 10 Pro Pack will cost $99.
Windows 10 will cost the same as its predecessor, Windows 8. A copy of Windows 10 Home will run $119, while Windows 10 Pro will cost $199. Copies of the software will be available online and in stores. This option will be used by the minority of users who don’t have an eligible machine or wish to build their own computer and install Windows themselves.
There are major changes happening with computer and mobile gadget operating systems and it’s my mission to make it easy for you to keep up and enjoy the many benefits.
I told her, that it’s too soon to tell. I recommend that people wait until it has been on the market for at least a year to give them a chance to correct any problems. There are always bugs and fixes that need to be done with any new software.
There are many improvements and some neat new features, but we’ll shall see….
If you are interested in knowing about the new features of Windows 10, Click here.
Apple also has a new operating system for it’s computers. It’s been available for quite some time and Apple has issued several important updates. It’s called OS X Yosemite and it has a lot of cool new features. If you want to learn more about it click here.
I’m still really enjoying my Chromebook. A Chromebook is a laptop of a different breed. Instead of Windows or Mac OS, Chromebooks run Google’s Chrome OS. These machines are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and documents living in the cloud and they are much less expensive than other computers.
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