Anything New in Windows 8.1 update

Windows 8.1 update has included some interesting stuff this time for users. However most of the changes have proved better for mouse-and-keyboard Windows users. In case you install the latest edition over the copy of Windows 8.1 which has not been changed, be informed that it has no touch screen. This would help it to boot directly to the desktop.

Experienced users are aware that shifting to boot-to-desktop need double clicks.  However, those users who are ignorant of this would take time to understand and would find themselves suddenly in a unfamiliar environment.

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On the start page there are two icons in the upper-right corner which is next to user’s name. The first icon allows you to shut down, sleep, lock, sign out and restart. However the Update needs no advance knowledge of right-swipe of the settings.

The second icon raises Windows 8.1 search pane which is hidden behind search charm. Prior to the update right click on start screen tile as it would bring up a strip at the bottom that allows changes. Post update; just right click on the tile which brings up everyday context menu with all same options.  As far as desktop programs are concerned just pin a Metro app to taskbar. If the metro app is running it has an icon taskbar. As far as desktop programs are concerned if you move the mouse over the taskbar icon, a metro app thumbnail appears. You would also get to see functional miniature media controls in certain apps.

By default the store appears on taskbar. In order to banish Metro apps from taskbar, right-click an empty spot on taskbar; select Properties; and under Taskbar tab, uncheck box ‘Show Windows Store apps on the taskbar’. Taskbar is now at the bottom of Metro apps.

The enhanced IE 11 has tabs as well as an address bar shown by default.  Update has new version of IE11 which supports Enterprise Mode.  If you want to activate Enterprise Mode just run gpedit.msc as Admin, and go to Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Internet Explorer, activate both. Just reboot and then press Alt, click tools and then enterprise mode.

If you are on desktop in Windows 8.1, then double-click picture file. Now you would get to see that Metro Photo app would preside. In case you double click on media file, there appears Metro Video app.

Windows 8.1 update has no major changes. It is limited to some new capabilities as well as some changes which are beyond default.   It is worth installing update in Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.

Fix Worst of PC Problems in Windows OS

Windows OS has features that interfere with your simple functioning of the PC. You can get rid of these with several third party applications. Below given ways on how you can do so:

Make the user account control less irritating

Microsoft’s User Account Control box comes up and questions the user “Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?” constantly. This is basically informing the user when an application is making the administrator level changes to the operating system. This is good for preventing malware. If you are confident enough to disable it then it is not difficult. Open control panel by going to Start > Control Panel or go to the tiled Start screen of Windows 8, type Control Panel and click  it.

Now you go to User Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts > Change User Account Control settings. This brings up new window which allows you to tune as to how often the UAC dialog box would appear. You can even disable it.

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Get rid of files which refuse to get deleted

There are few files which even selected for deletion refuse to get deleted and it show s that some part of it is being used by the user. You can use Unlocker utility which would help you release control as well as kill the locked files. Now whenever you face such issue just right-click it and choose Unlocker from context menu. If the file has been locked down, Unlocker opens the window which details active process and presents with several options.

However be wary of killing critical processes and deleting files anyway that can cause problems in the PC. Use it to delete locked programs which you can safely get rid of.

Start button to come back

Windows 8 have got rid of the iconic Start button. The Windows 8.1 update has bought it back. However that version of the button would drop you to modern-UI Start screen. If you are not comfortable with tiles then you can use some Start-button replacement programs which would bring it back and restore Windows 7-style functionality.

Disable lock screens and passwords

Lock screens and Passwords look good on portable laptops as well as touch screen tablets, but not on personal desktops. The lock screen has to be released whenever the devices wake up.  Just press Windows-R on the keyboard thereby bringing up the Run command box. Now type gpedit.msc and click OK in order to bring up Local Group Policy Editor.  Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Personalization which is on the left side of window in the file tree, thereafter double-click ‘Do Not Display the Lock Screen’. Choose the Enabled radio button and click OK.

Password disabling depends on Windows versions.  In Windows 7, launch Control Panel and go to User Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts > remove your password. Enter the current password and click Remove Password.

As far as Windows 8 is concerned, open right-side Charms bar and select Settings > Change PC Settings > Users. Now click Change under the alternative ‘Any user who has a password must enter it when waking this PC’ and click OK in the box that appears.

PC takes long time to boot

As time passes by Windows OS become bogged down with heavy usage. When applications launch themselves in the startup process, the boot time is hit. Just do not allow any useless software from running at startup as it can reduce how long the PC takes to boot up.

In Windows 7 check the programs which boot up in the start. Now press Windows-R, type msconfig and Enter. Click startup tab in the System Configuration window.

In Windows 8 Press Ctrl-Shift-Esc which would bring up the Windows Task Manager and open the Startup tab.

Clean up context menu

In case you have installed several applications then it slows down start up. The PC’s right-click context menu is filled with options. If you use tools like Nirsoft’s excellent ShellExView and ShellMenuView tools it would display all menu items which appear in the context menu that allows you to disable those which are not required.

 Trouble free upgrades

If there are several programs patched then update is necessary as it prevents vulnerabilities in the system. You must seek actively updates for your software or even deal with several automatic-updates thereby jamming up the system resources.  You can install third party software which would keep an eye on updates. If an update comes then there would be an attempt to execute it without seeking your permission. If it is not possible to automatically update, the user would be pinged and inform regarding the upgrade along with a download link.

Few Important Gmail Tips

Gmail has undergone several changes since its inception.  Several users are unaware of Gmail tricks which can help in daily mail usage. Below given certain tips:

Make use of Keyboard Shortcuts

As far as Gmail is concerned learning how to use keyboard shortcuts before moving to advanced options is highly beneficial.  In order to activate these keyboard shortcuts, just click on Settings and mark ‘Keyboard shortcuts on’ radial button.

Import Contacts from Outlook  

It’s good if you can remember email address of all those in the Address book. However it becomes difficult when you would have to deal with several contacts. You would surely not like to type all that again. However if you are shifting to Gmail it is not required too.

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Like several other email client and services Gmail supports CSV file format which makes it easy to transfer Outlook contacts to Gmail. In Outlook just click File>Import and Export. Choose ‘Export to a file’ and press next.

Outlook by default assumes that you want to export your mail and scroll down automatically to Inbox. Just scroll up and emphasize Contacts, and thereafter click on Next. Select location to save file and name it. Click Next>Finish and wait whereas it composes the file.

Import the Contacts

Now that you have your CSV file, sign in to Gmail and click on Contacts. You would see some buttons listed above the contact. Click on more and select Import. Now click on Choose file and locate CSV which was saved from Outlook. After the file has been found click on import and allow it to do the rest.

Yahoo Export

The same method should be used for any client or service that allows you to export the contacts to CSV file. If you have Yahoo email account then click on Contacts thereafter on Actions>Export. Select Yahoo CSV radio button and press Export Now.

Remote sign out

After checking your Gmail in a different system if you have forgot to sign out then trouble brews. The person who would next sit on the system can go to your account and read everything. Anyone could even send out mails and create a chaos. You have to just scroll down below the inbox and take down the Details URL. Just next to it you would be informed when the lat account activity takes place and the IP it generates from.

When you click on Details link, a new window would pop up with detailed information about recent activity which occurred on the account, that also includes the IP address, access type, date and time. Here the account can be remotely signed out. Click on ‘Sign out all other sessions’ buttons that would provide lot of relief to the user.