help | how-to | troubleshooting Mon, 17 Feb 2020 16:42:54 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 32 32 140865022 Quickly Create Virtual Machines in Hyper-V Mon, 17 Feb 2020 11:57:13 +0000 Read the postQuickly Create Virtual Machines in Hyper-V]]> Sometimes when you’re using virtual machines in Hyper-V, you don’t always have to create your own virtual environment as Microsoft provide some pre-configured environments for development and deployment in Windows and Ubuntu Linux.  From the main Hyper-V panel, click Quick Create in the top right corner of the window to begin this process.

You will be presented with a selection of pre-configured virtual machine that you can download and install.  Each one will be up to date, and include any installed tools and utilities that you might need.

The information panel for each option tells you how large the VM download file is, so you can get an idea how long it will take to download, and how much space on your PC it will occupy.  Clicking the More options button will also allow you to assign one of your pre-configured virtual switches to the VM, so it can access your network or the Internet from the first time you start it.

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Force the Installation of a Driver in Windows Fri, 14 Feb 2020 09:04:15 +0000 Read the postForce the Installation of a Driver in Windows]]> Sometime you need to install a driver in Windows that’s not strictly compatible with Windows.  This could be for some older, or legacy hardware that you still really need to use, but the only driver available is for Windows 7, or perhaps even Windows XP.  You know the device will work, you know the driver will work, but when you try to install it you’re told that it won’t install because you’re using the wrong version of Windows.

This often happens, not with a folder containing the driver files, but when you have a single package installer file.  Fortunately it’s easy to unpack many (but not all) of these files as they’re really just big zip containers with a Windows version checker than can then be bypassed.

You’ll need a compatible app to unpack the driver file, and I recommend WinRar as it’s consistently good with this type of file.  You can download a trial version of WinRar for free from  With WinRar open on your desktop, from its File menu, select Open Archive.

You’ll need to change the compatible file types to All files in the bottom right corner of the Find Archive dialog that appears, and then you can select your driver installation file to open.

You’ll then see (at least most of the time) that the file is really just a big zip archive.  This contains all the individual driver files that you need, to be able to force installation of the driver on your PC.

Click the Extract To button and extract the archive to a new folder on your PC.

You now have direct access to all the driver files, and will no longer need the standalone installer.

This new folder will contain Setup and perhaps other installation files.  Using these will most often bypass the Windows version check that you were sudject to before, allowing you to successfully install the driver.

This is a useful workaround if you have older hardware that’s still perfectly good, and that you really have to use on your PC.

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Reconnect when your Network Connection Drops Out Thu, 13 Feb 2020 08:25:17 +0000 Read the postReconnect when your Network Connection Drops Out]]> Sometimes a network connection can drop out suddenly, and you’re just left with a “can’t connect” planet icon in the System Tray.  The usual solution would be to restart the PC, but you might have something open on the desktop that will be lost if you do that.  Fortunately it’s possible to reset the connection and restore your link to your network and the Internet.

Right click on the network icon in the System Tray, and from the context menu that appears, click the Open Network & Internet settings option.

This will open the main network settings panel, in which you need to scroll down the page slightly and click the Network and Sharing Centre link.

When the Network and Sharing Centre opens, there’s another link you need to click.  In the top left corner of the window, click the Change adapter settings link.

You’ll now be presented with a list of the network adapters that are installed on your PC.  Choose the one you use to connect to the Internet (there may be just one or two on your PC anyway) and right-click it.  Then from the context menu that appears, click the Disable option.

With the network connection disabled, you should right-click the same adapter again, and this time, select Enable from the context menu.

This process resets the network adapter and will restore your network and Internet connection 99% of the time.

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Control and Manage Notifications in Windows Wed, 12 Feb 2020 08:52:41 +0000 Read the postControl and Manage Notifications in Windows]]> If you get annoyed by the frequency and intrusiveness of popup notifications on the Windows desktop, it’s easy to control them or silence them altogether.  When a notification arrives, either as a popup on the desktop, or within the action centre, mouse over it and a Settings icon will appear in its top-right corner.

Click this icon to be shown options for how notifications for that app, as this is done on a per-app basis, appear (or don’t).  This includes hiding the notifications from the desktop, action centre or both, playing a sound when they arrives, showing or hiding them on the lock screen, and how many notifications can appear in the Action Center.

Additionally there are other ways to control notifications.  Open Settings and then click System and Notifications & actions and there are controls for every notification.  This includes being able to silence them so they don’t play a sound, hide them all from the lock screen, or to turn all notifications off altogether.

The Action Centre icon, in the far right of the Taskbar, can also be customised by right-clicking on it.  You can turn icons on or app for apps which can appear over the Action Centre icon, and also hide the number of notifications completely.

Windows makes it simple to manage your notifications, decide how and where they alert you to events and messages, and whether you want to see them at all.

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Add Calendar Appointments from the Taskbar Tue, 11 Feb 2020 08:49:24 +0000 Read the postAdd Calendar Appointments from the Taskbar]]> Did you know that Windows 10 lets you add appointments to your calendar right from the desktop.  If you click on the clock on the right side of the Taskbar, up pops the time, a monthly calendar, and any appointments you have on that day; note you can slick the Hide / Show Calendar link to show or hide this.  Within this is an Add an event or reminder box.

You can click in this box and start typing, as you do additional options will appear such as which of your calendars you want the event added to, if you have more than one on the PC, start start and end times for the event, and if there is a location for the event.  You can change the date for the event by clicking on the correct date in the calendar that appears above the edit box.

This feature makes it very easy and straightforward to add appointments to your calendar when you need to add appointments to your calendar.

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Make Websites and Articles Easier to Read with Immersive Reader Mon, 10 Feb 2020 09:09:37 +0000 Read the postMake Websites and Articles Easier to Read with Immersive Reader]]> Websites can be messy with different menus, options, panels and adverts scattered across your screen, and even moving in the background, causing distraction.  Fortunately Microsoft’s Edge web browser includes an Immersive Reader feature that can make them much easier to see and read.  You can access the Immersive Reader on articles by clicking the book icon that appears on the right side of the browser address bar.

Immersive Reader strips all the menus, adverts, and unwanted items from a web page and gives you the main text in an easy to see, easy to read view that resembles a book.  When you move your mouse near the top of the window, a Read aloud button will also appear, which will read the article to you.

There are accessibility features built into the Immersive Reader though that include a Text Preferences button that appears when you move your mouse near the top of the browser window.  Here you can change the text size, making ti smaller or larger, and you can also change the background to one of four different colours, including a high contrast black and white view.

The Immersive Reader makes articles much easier and more straightforward to read online, making it easier to concentrate on the content.  This makes the feature great for home and work use alike, I thoroughly recommend it.

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Change How the Microsoft Edge Home Page Looks Fri, 07 Feb 2020 09:32:16 +0000 Read the postChange How the Microsoft Edge Home Page Looks]]> If you use the default search home page in Microsoft’s Edge web browser you can easily change its look and feel.  Click the (cog) Settings icon near the top right corner of the page to display different options.  The first, Focused presents a clean page with quick links to your most recently accessed websites.

Inspirational presents a photo of the day, and links on the page will tell you more about the photo.  Many people like the photo of the day as they are always very colourful and interesting.

The Informational option will present news stories for you, with tabs that you can click between and a drop down menu icon () that will present additional news categories.

The last option is Custom and this allows you to pick and choose between the different page elements, as well as allowing you to decide if news content is always visible, or only visible under certain conditions, such as just the headlines being visible.

All in all the default home page for Edge is very configurable and provides useful information the moment you open the browser.  You can download Microsoft’s Edge browser from HERE.

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Make Websites Easier to See and Read in Microsoft Edge Thu, 06 Feb 2020 08:36:12 +0000 Read the postMake Websites Easier to See and Read in Microsoft Edge]]> If you find websites difficult to see and read you can zoom into sites and make the text on sites larger in Microsoft’s Edge browser.  From the main browser window, click the Menu icon () in the top right corner of the browser window to open the main menu. Here you will see Zoom in and out controls.

You can also zoom into an out of a web page by pressing Ctrl + – (minus) to zoom out, Ctrl + + (plus) to zoom in, and Ctrl + 0 (zero) to return to the standard 100%.  If you use a mouse with a scroll where, you can hold down Ctrl on your keyboard and zoom in and out using the mouse wheel.

Additionally from the main menu you can click Settings and then in the panel that appears click Appearance.  Here you will see a default zoom option as a drop-down menu.  There is also a drop-down menu for Font size which can make the size of text on all websites larger or smaller.

Microsoft’s Edge browser comes with very easy to use options that can make websites much easier to see and read on your PC.  You can download Microsoft’s Edge browser from HERE.

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Recover Lost or Forgotten Passwords in Edge Wed, 05 Feb 2020 09:02:42 +0000 Read the postRecover Lost or Forgotten Passwords in Edge]]> Microsoft’s Edge browser comes with a password manager that can remember your usernames and passwords for websites, and network locations, and auto-fill these into sign in fields for you.  Some websites, such as banking sites, don’t always co-operate however.  Edge makes it easy for you to recover forgotten password though.

From the main browser window, click the Menu icon () in the top right corner of the browser window and from the drop-down menu that appears, click Settings.  This takes to to the main settings page where you will see a Passwords link in the centre of the page, and you can click this.

The main passwords panel displays websites down the left of the page, along with your username for each one displayed in plain text.  To display the password for a website, click the eye icon to the right of the obfuscated password field.  You will be required to enter the pin or password for your PC, or to pass through a Windows Hello check, and the password will be displayed for you.

To the right of each password option is a menu icon () which you can click for options to view or delete the saved username and password, and Edge makes it very easy to manage passwords.  You can download Microsoft’s Edge browser from HERE.

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Listen to Websites with Microsoft Edge Tue, 04 Feb 2020 09:47:49 +0000 Read the postListen to Websites with Microsoft Edge]]> If you find websites difficult to see or read, you can easily get Microsoft’s Edge browser to read websites to you instead.  To access this, click the Menu icon () in the top right corner of the browser window (there’s no keyboard shortcut for this yet, but we can expect one to be added) and from the menu that appears click Read aloud.

This will open a Read aloud barat the top of the web page, and the browser will start to read the page to you.  There are Previous, Pause and Next buttons in the top centre of the bar and a Voice options button on the right side.  Clicking this button will open a panel with additional options, including changing the speed of the reading, and choosing a different voice.

Microsoft’s Edge browser really makes the Internet easy to see, hear, and read.  You can download Microsoft’s Edge browser from HERE.

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