Tag Archives: updates

Screen shot of the homepage at www.YourComputerGal.com

New Name, Website, and Services

For all you wonderful people who have been following my blog, this is to let you know that I’ve changed my business name from Desert Computer Tutor to Your Computer Gal and created a new website and blog.

I changed the name because I can serve people via video conferencing and remote access now and I don’t want people who are searching for help on the internet to think that I only serve people in the Palm Desert area.

For you to continue to be notified about new blog posts, you need to sign up here.  It will only take a minute.

I’m looking forward to continuing to help you with Techie Tips and news about changes in technology that affect you.

The new website is https://www.yourcomputergal.com/ and soon I’ll be adding courses and a Resources Page with recommendations for the best, computers, mobile gadgets and services, so stay tuned.

Be sure to sign up here so you don’t miss anything.

Enjoy!

Mardi

 

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My Bad….I Should Have Warned You!

Never let your computer know that you are in a hurry. Computers can smell fear.

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

Microsoft

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-working-lights

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.)

Windows 10

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.

The Apple iOS 10 update (A much better experience than with Microsoft)  photo.apple vs. windows

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?

P1020666

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

light_at_the_end_of_tunnel

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

Please share this to others so they can get help too.

If you received this from a friend and would like to receive all my Techie Tips directly, you can sign up here.

Journey together PictureLooking forward to knowing what you think.

Enjoy!

Mardi Boettcher

760 3 4tutor

 

Windows 10 Update

Windows 10

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.

To Sleep or Shut Down, That is the Question

When your computer is not in use, do you shut it down, put it to sleep, or just keep it turned on?

In working with clients, it’s come to my attention that many people don’t completely shut down their computers from time to time.  Letting your computer just go to sleep night after night can cause problems.  For the average user, I recommend shutting it down completely, at least once a week.  The same applies to mobile gadgets like tablets and phones.  (See below for more details.)

If any of your techie tools are acting a little weird and slowing down, they may just need a reboot (shutdown and restart).  Try rebooting and then call me if that doesn’t work.

I hope you have found this tip useful and that you will forward it to others so they too, can more fully enjoy the benefits of computer technology.

Pros and Cons

Putting It To Sleep   Computer in sleep mode

The advantage to putting it to sleep is that it provides the easiest and fastest way to resume work while minimizing wear and tear on the hardware. The computer goes to sleep instantly and when it wakes up, all of your open apps, documents, window arrangements, and web pages, are exactly where you left off with almost no delay. For average users who want to quickly get back to what they were doing, sleeping is perfect.

  • Pros: Quickly resume exactly where you left off; sleep and wake can be scheduled or even done remotely
  • Cons: Minor power consumption; system temp fluctuations, swap, and cache files don’t get cleared out during as during a reboot process; system updates requiring reboots don’t install automatically and need a manual reboot; performance is best for computers with 4GB RAM or more

If you use your computer every day, simply putting it to sleep when it’s not in use or overnight is probably the best choice. Just be sure to reboot every once in awhile to allow system software updates to install. Waiting for an operating system Update or Security Update is generally a sufficient time between reboots.

shutting down computer for updatesShutting It Down

Shutting it down isn’t necessary unless it’s going into a longer term state of inactivity or storage. Shutting down is slower because all the open applications and documents have to quit; and when you turn the machine back on, everything has to re-open again to get back to where you were prior to shutdown.

  • Pros: Saves power, doesn’t strain hardware; system temp, memory, swap, and cache files get cleared out during boot; allows for major system updates to install
  • Cons: Takes a while to boot up and resume previous activity

For the power conscious or for those trying to squeeze the absolute longest lifespan out of hardware and hard disks, shutting down when not in use is the best choice. This is also necessary if you’re going to put your computer in long term storage, won’t be using it for a longer than a few days, or you’re going to be traveling and not using it during the travel period.

Computer as a serverKeeping It Always Turned On

Leaving a computer constantly turned on is best reserved for computers that function as servers. On the plus side, you don’t have to bother resuming anything since it’s already on, you can schedule all maintenance and backup tasks to occur in the wee hours of system inactivity, and it allows for a server or media center to be running on the machine. The downside is the constant power consumption and the constantly active hardware, which can limit overall lifespans of the computer components.

  • Pros: No waiting for use; instantly resume all apps and tasks exactly where you left off; allows for servers to run with constant accessibility; backup and system maintenance tasks can be scheduled for off hours
  • Cons: Constant power consumption; more wear and tear on hard drives, fans, and physical hardware due to possible heat

For the casual user, it’s best to put it to sleep when it’s not in use.  It gives hard drives and fans a rest, and will generally lead to a longer lifespan of the computer.

Wait Until The Bugs Are Out!

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.

More details

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.

Are You Doing Your Updates?


remember-659706-m

It’s very, very important to allow updates on your computers, tablets and smart phones.  Updates have fixes for “bugs” (program errors that cause malfunctions) and “patches” that prevent breaches in security.  Often the updates contain cool new features too.

Many people don’t allow the updates because they don’t understand the value, or they don’t know the difference between a reliable update and a scam or virus.  In the past, I have included a list of the names of reliable updates for you to print.

tent card

Now, I’ve created a new business card that has the list on it.  It’s designed as a tent card so you can stand it up beside your computer. This is so important that I’d like everyone in our community to have one.  If you need one, or want a bunch to give to your friends, let me know right away.

That being said, I want you to know that even some reliable updates may come with things you might not want. Companies make marketing agreements to offer other companies’ services.  Don’t worry, just read the screens as you go through the update process. Uncheck any boxes or click “no” to anything that is being offered as an “extra benefit.”

ask_toolbarJava

A case in point…I updated Java this week and noticed that Java is still trying to install an Ask Toolbar and change my search engine to Ask.  This has happened to my clients in the past and it’s very confusing.  They call me to find out what happened to their Google search box.

Even more frustrating is the Adobe Flash update which can install Mcafee antivirus in place of your current antivirus program if you don’t tell it otherwise.adobeflashWithMcAffey

Please don’t be intimidated and ignore the updates. Just be patient and read the screens before you click “next.”  If you need help, try my new call-in service or make an appointment for a detailed lesson on how to install programs, apps and updates on all your devices.
Keep Calm and Call Me

Who do you know that needs to learn how to install programs, apps and updates?  I’m here to help and I promise to take good care of them.  Call me today!   760-348-8867

Do You Reboot?

Do You Reboot?

Network Neurons 1

Your Techie Tip for this week is to turn your computer completely off at least once a week.  The reason this is important is that its memory gets too full and it’s likely to slow down or get confused.
(Just like us!)

During the shutdown process, it files everything away where it belongs and dumps extraneous stuff from the memory.  Kind of like we do when we get a good nights sleep.  Then, when it restarts (reboots), it checks all its systems, corrects any errors, and installs updates.  The installation of the updates is critically important because there are security fixes (patches) in them.

Asleep 3Your computer is set to go to sleep after a certain period of non-use, and the screen may go dark, but that is not the same as shutting down.  So please choose one night a week to give your machine a complete break and an opportunity for a fresh start in the morning.

This applies to your tablets, smartphones and other gadgets too.