help | how-to | troubleshooting Wed, 21 Aug 2019 10:54:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 32 32 140865022 How to Move Files off a Windows 7 PC Using OneDrive Wed, 21 Aug 2019 10:54:26 +0000 Read the postHow to Move Files off a Windows 7 PC Using OneDrive]]> All support for Windows 7 ends in January 2020, but not every PC is upgradeable to Windows 10, either because it’s old and won’t run efficiently, or because some of the hardware is no longer supported.  In this case you’ll probably find youself investing in a new PC, for which the upcoming Black Fdriday sales are always a good option as new PCs are announced around this time, meaning you get the previous generation discounted as well as sales and offers anyway for that time of the year.

If you buy a new PC however you will need to transfer all your files, documents, photos, and music from the old PC to the new one.  If you have a USB Hard Disk this is a straightforward process, but not everybody does.  What everybody does have however is 5GB of free Microsoft OneDrive Storage, and if you subscribe to an Office 365 plan, such as Personal or Home, you get a massive 1TB of storage.  Additionally, you can purchase additional storage at any time, and you can find pricing and details here.

You need to download and install OneDrive for your Windows 7 PC, and when it’s running sign into it with your Microsoft Account.  You can see OneDrive in the System Tray, on the far right of the Taskbar, and it’s represented by a white cloud.  Right-click this icon and from the menu that appears click Settings.

Next, navigate to the Backup tab in the dialog that appears, and click the Manage Backup button.  In the dialog that appears add your Documents, Pictures and Desktop to the backup.  Then click the Start backup button.

Note that the default action of OneDrive is to copy your five primary folders of Documents, Pictures, Music, and Video.  If you want to add more folders, you should move them into one of these folders.

It can take some time, perhaps several days, for all your files to upload to the cloud.  How long it takes depends on how many files you have, and the speed of your Internet connection.  Please note that uploading files using a metered (cellular) connection could incur significant data charges.

When you get your new Windows 10 PC and are setting it up, you will see a message asking if you want to Protect your files with OneDrive.  Click the Next button here to set up OneDrive on the new PC.

You will now be able to see all your backed up files and folders from the cloud to your new Windows 10 PC, though they won’t be downloaded unless you specify, which can save valuable disk space.  You can view these at any time in File Explorer by clicking the OneDrive link in the left-side panel.

If you don’t see your files on the new PC, then you might need to set up OneDrive backup on the new PC, and you can do this in the same way I described at the beginning of this tutorial.

You will now want to download some or all of your OneDrive files.  To find out how to do this, and more about using and working with OneDrive on your PC, click this link.

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Remove Recycle Bin from the Desktop to Elsewhere Fri, 26 Jul 2019 10:39:15 +0000 Read the postRemove Recycle Bin from the Desktop to Elsewhere]]> If you’re anything like me, you like to keep your computer desktop clean and uncluttered.  The one icon that persists in this however is the Recycle Bin.  You can remove it, and I’ll show you how, but then how do you access it to empty it?

Pin Recycle Bin to File Explorer

You can drag the Recycle Bin icon down to the Windows Taskbar and on top of the File Explorer icon.  If you do this you will see a Pin to File Explorer pop-up appear, and dropping the Recycle Bin icon will then pin to the File Explorer icon.

You can access the Recycle Bin at any time by right-clicking (touching and holding with your finger) on the File Explorer icon to reveal its Jumplist.  Recycle Bin will appear in the list that appears, and you can click it to open the Recycle Bin, empty it, and interact with it as you normally would.

Pin Recycle Bin to the Start Menu

Alternatively, you can pin the Recycle Bin icon to the Windows 10 Start Menu.  Just right-click (touch and hold with your finger) on the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop, and from the context menu that appears click Pin the Start.


The icon will then appear in your Start Menu, pinned as a tile, and you can click it to open the Recycle Bin as normal and interact with it.

Find the Recycle Bin if You’ve Lost It

If you have already removed the Recycle Bin icon from the desktop, and now can’t find it, don’t worry as it’s easy to get to.  Open File Explorer and from the Breadcrumb Bar (also called the address bar) click the small arrow to the left of the current file location…

This will display a list of locations the Breadcrumb Bar can easily switch to, and Recycle bin will always appear in the list.

Remove the Recycle Bin from the Desktop

To remove the Recycle Bin icon from the desktop, right-click in any blank space on the desktop, and from the context menu that appears click Personalise.  When Settings appears, click the Themes link that appears in the left panel, and scroll downwards in the main panel until you see a link called Desktop icon settings.

Click this link and a dialog will appear in which you can uncheck Recycle Bin.  Click Apply and the Recycle Bin icon will disappear from your desktop.

Note that you can use this same method to reinstate the Recycle Bin icon to the desktop should you wish.

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Protect Yourself from Tech-Support Scams Thu, 25 Jul 2019 09:31:11 +0000 Read the postProtect Yourself from Tech-Support Scams]]> Tech support scams are on the rise, especially ones conducted over the telephone.  These scams are incredibly complex and use genuine call-centre staff who don’t realise that they’re being used by criminal gangs to scam money out of unsuspecting victims.

There are several ways that scammers try and trick you into giving them access to your PC, or to pay them money for non-existent services.

  • Receiving a phone call, either purporting to be from Microsoft, or from another tech company
  • Displaying a fake virus or security alert message on a website you visit
  • Pop up alerts on your PC after the installation of malware

To be clear, nobody from Microsoft will EVER call you to say there is a problem with your computer!

Microsoft, Google, Apple and other big tech firms work collaboratively with international banks, and law enforcement agencies worldwide to combat tech-support and other types of scams and criminal activity, and I have been lucky enough to tour the Microsoft Cyber-Crime, and Cyber-Security Centres in Redmond (WA), USA.

Microsoft have guidance, that it updated regularly on their website about how you can make sure you don’t become the scammers’ next victim.  It’s well worth a read, and well worth sharing with friends, family, and colleagues.  You can find this advice on THIS LINK.

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The IT Support Handbook Wed, 24 Jul 2019 08:48:18 +0000 Read the postThe IT Support Handbook]]> Mike Halsey has many years experience in providing IT Support, and in helping other people to become more effective tech professionals.  This book helps you achieve that goal by learning how to provide the most useful IT support for your users. You’ll learn how to efficiently and effectively deal with any type of problem, including operating systems, software, and hardware. IT support is often complex, time-consuming, and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be with the right processes in place.

Whether you’re an individual, part of an IT support team, or managing staff supporting PC users in their homes, The IT Support Handbook will help you understand the right way to approach, troubleshoot, and isolate problems so they can be handled efficiently, with least disruption and cost to your business. You’ll make yourself popular with your colleagues, and keep your customers and users happy and productive.

What You’ll Learn
  • Manage reporting, and keep a record of issues that occur
  • Provide effective remote support for users away from home or working in another office
  • Use error and system reporting in Windows to obtain high-quality, relevant information
  • Spot patterns in user behavior that may be causing difficult-to-diagnose problems
  • Be familiar with best practices to make you a better support professional
Who This Book Is For

IT professionals, IT support (on-site and remote), and system administrators who manage support teams. No prior knowledge is required.

You can buy this book from Amazon, and from all good booksellers.

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Install Apps to a Different Disk or SD Card Tue, 23 Jul 2019 09:15:32 +0000 Read the postInstall Apps to a Different Disk or SD Card]]> If you have a PC with only limited storage, you can find that you keep running out of space when trying to install a new app.  This can be frustrating because often something else will need to be uninstalled or deleted.  Windows 10 includes a feature however that allows you to install apps onto other disks or partitions on the PC, which includes any removable SD Card you have installed in your PC.

Open Settings and search for Storage.  When Storage Settings appears in the search results, click it and on the page that appears, click the Change where new content is saved link.

This opens a page where you can choose where all types of new content are saved automatically on your PC.  This includes documents, photos, and video, but it is also where there is a dropdown allowing you to select where new apps save to.

Remember that if you are installing apps to an SD Card, or saving documents to a removable card, then the card will need to stay plugged-in to your PC in order for those apps and files to be accessible.  It is also possible that if you unplug the card at any time these settings will be rest, so you should check back when your SD Card has been resinserted.

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Reinstall Windows with a Fresh Start Mon, 22 Jul 2019 09:24:41 +0000 Read the postReinstall Windows with a Fresh Start]]> If you have a problem with your Windows PC, then there’s a handy tool that you can use to Reset the operating system to a fully-working state.  This tool will reinstall an up-to-date, working copy of the operating system, and will also keep your accounts, documents, Store apps, and settings.  You’ll still have to reinstall all of your Win32 apps, but it can take the pain out of reinstalling if you encounter a problem.

What happens though if you really want a fresh start, and want to remove all your installed programs, and settings?  You might want to do this because you’re selling or giving away your PC, or perhaps because you’ve just purchased your PC, and want to delete all of the bloat and crapware such as games that came pre-installed.  Windows 10 includes a feature that enables you to do this, and it’s called Fresh Start.

Search in the Start Menu for Fresh Start and click on the Device Performance & Health option when it appears in the search results.  In the window that appears you’ll see a section called Fresh Start, click the Additional information link below it.

You will be taken to another page where Fresh Start will be explained to you in more detail.  As it explains, it still keeps your accounts and files, so you don’t need to worry about losing anything, but it resets everything else, cleaning up the PC.  Click Get Started to begin the process.

You will be presented with a series of dialogs that will talk you through the Fresh Start process, and they help you understand what is involved so that you can be absolutely sure you want to proceed.

When the process is complete, you will have a fresh PC, with a cleaned-up system that’s ready for whatever you want to do with it next.

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I Use a Password for Websites so Why is My Windows 7 Not Secure? Thu, 02 May 2019 11:35:33 +0000 Read the postI Use a Password for Websites so Why is My Windows 7 Not Secure?]]> With all support for Windows 7 Ending on January 14th 2020, this presents a security headache for people still using this operating system on their PCs.  This is because after this date there will be no more security and stability patches for the operating system, and any vulnerabilities that may still exist in the operating system, or that may appear as Internet technologies develop, just won’t be patched.  The upshot is that using a Windows 7 PC after this time will be the equivalent of going out back to mow the lawn, with your front door open, and your car keys and wallet on the side table.

Some people do believe though that they’ll be fine because they use good passwords, perhaps even very strong passwords on any websites they visit, or with Windows 7 itself, and that they perhaps even also use two-factor authentication on those websites.  While this is always great advice, and if a website offers two-factor authentication, where an SMS text message or email is sent to you so that you confirm it really is you signing into a website, it simply isn’t true that this will keep you safe after support ends.

Unfortunately using passwords safely just won’t protect you from any underlying vulnerabilities in Windows 7 after support ends.  This is because those vulnerabilities will exist underneath your software, and your web browser and other apps rely on the core operating system to keen them safe and secure.  If the core operating system isn’t secure, then neither is any app that runs on top of it, password or no password.

There is still time to upgrade your PC to a newer operating system such as Windows 10, and you can find help, advice and links in the dedicated section of this website.

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Why Anti-Virus Software will NOT Protect an Out of Service Windows 7 PC Mon, 15 Apr 2019 12:29:54 +0000 Read the postWhy Anti-Virus Software will NOT Protect an Out of Service Windows 7 PC]]> On January 14th 2020 all support for Windows 7 comes to an end, this means that there will be no further stability or security patches, and any vulnerabilities still in the operating system will NOT be fixed.  If you are still using Windows 7 on your PC(s) after this date, it will make you highly vulnerable to malware, hacking, and data, financial, and identity theft, not just for yourself, but for the people who’s email addresses and other details you keep on your PC.

It’s still not too late to switch to a different operating system, and you may even still be able to get Windows 10 for free.  There are people online however who believe that having up to date anti-virus software on your PC is enough to protect your PC, and keep you and your data safe.  THIS IS NOT TRUE and I’d like to explain why you should NOT trust this poor advice.

In the weeks and months following the end of the service for Windows XP, there was a huge surge in the volume of malware and other attacks on the ageing operating system, including high-profile attacks that made evening news programmes in many countries around the world.

The reason these attacks were possible, and will happen also for Windows 7 are several.  Firstly, it’s safe to say that criminals know about some vulnerabilities in Windows 7 and are keeping them secret, for now, so that they go unnoticed, unpatched by Microsoft, and can be exploited later.

Anti-Virus works with the security services offered by the operating system, such as User Account Control, to defend against attacks from outside.  However vulnerabilities offer a way for malware and hackers to bypass these security features, and your anti-virus software, through what’s called a back door.  It’s the same as if you installed an expensive security system in your home, and installed high-security locks, only to leave your own back door unlocked when you go out.

With the best will and efforts in the world, anti-virus software simply can’t defend against these vulnerabilities, because their very existence in the operating system the anti-virus software is running on, also make that anti-virus software vulnerable.  This undermines all the security on the PC.

It’s still not to late to switch to a newer operating system however, such as Windows 10, which is protected against the latest malware threats, and you can find more information on how to switch on this link.

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Upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 for Free Wed, 03 Apr 2019 10:03:13 +0000 Read the postUpgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 for Free]]> End of support for Windows 7 is coming on January 14th 2020.  This means that after this date there will be no further security and stability patches, and any vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers will cause you, your files, and your personal data, to remain vulnerable.  Anti-virus software will not be able to act as a defence in this circumstance, so it’s crucial you upgrade to a newer version of Windows, which will usually mean Windows 10.

But can you still get Windows 10 for free?  During its first year it was offered as a free upgrade to all existing Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers.  During this time many people upgraded to Windows 10 to test it, and then decided to roll back their PC to Windows 7.  This was an option of the Windows 10 upgrade.

If you were one of the people who upgraded to Windows 10 during this time, and rolled your PC back, then Windows 10 will already have been activated on your PC.  This means on the same PC, you can upgrade to Windows 10 again completely FREE.  You can do this through the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.  NOTE: This will only apply to the PC Windows 10 was previously tried on, and not a different PC.

For everybody else there are various options.  If you’re not ready to purchase a new PC, copies of Windows 10 are available to purchase from the Microsoft Store.

There are many stories online from people who say that if you perform a clean installation of Windows 10 using the product key that came with your Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC, that this key is accepted and Windows 10 activates fine.  The product key is found on a sticker on your PC’s case, as seen in the image (right).

Microsoft are not acknowledging that this workaround exists because if they have left this door open for users to upgrade for free, they still want to sell Windows 10 licences.  If you want to try this, make sure you have a full backup of your Windows 7 (or Windows 8.1) installation using the System Image Backup tool, and you can find instructions on the link, and crucially, that you have a backup copy of all your files and documents, and copies of any software installers you will need to reinstall if it doesn’t work.  You should also download a new installer for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 just in case.  Obviously this method is not supported and cannot be recommended, it needs to be undertaken at your own risk.


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Use Windows Timeline with Google’s Chrome Browser Tue, 26 Feb 2019 08:25:29 +0000 Read the postUse Windows Timeline with Google’s Chrome Browser]]> If you’re not already familiar with it, Windows Timeline is a feature, accessed from an icon (of several boxes and a slider) on the Taskbar, that allows you to pick up where you left off by reopening documents, apps, and web pages, both on the PC you’re currently using and on other PCs, Android, and iOS devices where you’re signed in using your Microsoft account. Note that the Cortana app is required on Android and iOS.

Now, Microsoft have extended the functionality of Timeline by releasing a plug-in for Google’s Chrome web browser. Microsoft describe the plug-in as…

See your browsing activities across all your devices in surfaces like Windows Timeline and Microsoft Launcher for Android. With this extension, your browsing history will appear across all your devices. Just sign in with your Microsoft account, select a site you’ve recently visited, and pick up where you left off.

You can download and install the Timeline plug-in for Google Chrome from this link, and read our guide on how to get the best from Windows Timeline here.

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