Jan 192016

Here’s what Microsoft says:

When you set up your Microsoft account across your devices and services, the things that matter most to you – like people, documents, photos, and settings – follow you on whatever devices you’re using. Your Microsoft account lets you flow freely from task to task and make the most of every moment. It not only gives you access to Microsoft services, but also makes them work together in a way that’s all about you.

You can also login to your OneDrive account and click the icon in the upper left as shown below and use the online Microsoft Office for free. Note – you can do this from anywhere.

 (click icon to go to OneDrive)

After clicking the icon shown above, you have free access to any of the Applications shown below.

The link here allows you to sign in or to create a new account. You can use this account to sign into OneDrive and get 5GB of free storage even if you don’t sign in to your PC with a Micsoft account but use a local account instead.

You can even do this without a PC and use OneDrive on your mobile devices.

Jan 182016

Can you use OneDrive without signing into your PC with a Microsoft?

Yes you can!

As you may already know, you can sign into a Windows 10 PC with a Local Account or a Microsoft Account. To tell which one you have just open your Settings by pressing the Windows key and the letter I and click the Account icon. If you see something like the following on your screen you have a Microsoft Account.

If you are using a Local Account you will see something similar but it will say Manage my Local Account.

It’s possible to have a Local Account and still use OneDrive. If you are using a Local account and want to use OneDrive, just press the Windows key and type OneDrive. If it opens, you are already using it. If it asks to to sign in, you have two choices as follows:

  1. Use an existing Microsoft account to sign in to OneDrive
  2. Go to the Microsoft sign-in page here and click Signup now as shown below

  3. Once you’ve created the account you can use the username and password to sign into OneDrive.

Note: should you want to change from a Local account to a Microsoft account you can use these same credentials.

Jan 172016

How to configure your Windows Privacy settings

Here’s what a software company says about the Windows 10 privacy settings:

During Windows setup many of these settings are pre-configured and in many cases it remains unclear to what extent Windows 10 will send out usage data. Do you really want to allow Windows 10 to access your calendar, emails, your location and many other settings? With Ashampoo AntiSpy for Windows® 10, you decide! Access all of your settings with ease.

Ashampoo AntiSpy for Windows® 10 gives you an overview of all critical system settings and allows you to disable each one at the click of a button. Two included presets allow you to disable any reporting to Microsoft or rely on recommendations by our security experts.

You can search out these settings yourself or let a free program do it for you. Download the free tool here and your settings will be changed automatically. The downloaded program requires no installation, just double-click it to open it, click the Action menu at the top as shown below and select Set all recommended settings,  and you’re are done.

Jan 132016

OneDrive has changed

Microsoft Dumps OneDrive Unlimited Storage

By Stephanie Mlot November 3, 2015 10:00am EST 46 Comments

Microsoft blamed the change on those who were abusing unlimited storage, in some cases stashing up to 75TB.

Say farewell to unlimited storage on Microsoft’s OneDrive.

Office 365 subscribers must now make do with 1TB of free space rather than unlimited storage, while 100GB and 200GB new-user paid plans are getting replaced with a 50GB option for $1.99 per month.

Free OneDrive storage, meanwhile, will decrease from 15GB to 5GB for existing and new users, and the 15GB camera roll storage is being discontinued.

All changes will begin rolling out early next year.

The sudden about-face is the result of a few rotten apples spoiling the bunch, according to Redmond.

“Since starting to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings,” the OneDrive FAQ page said.

In some cases, that exceeded 75TB per user, or 14,000 times Microsoft’s average.

“Instead of focusing on extreme backup scenarios, we want to remain focused on delivering high-value productivity and collaboration experiences that benefit the majority of OneDrive users,” the company added.

In a bid to calm those who might be irked by the change, Microsoft reminded people how much can actually be stored within the new limits. OneDrive free with 5GB, for example, is enough to keep about 6,600 Office documents, or 1,600 photos (based on 9-megapixel JPEG images). And Office 365 with 1TB creates a cache for 1 million documents or 330,000 pictures.

To check on your current storage option, and see just how much space you’re using, visit the Manage Storage page. And don’t worry if you’re already filled to the brim: Microsoft is notifying customers, who have 90 days or 12 months (depending on your plan) to make changes.

Jan 132016

Using Crashplan

Crashplan can be used for the following for free. It involves installing Crashplan on your PC and any other PC’s that you would like to include. The software is available from here and their plans are compared here.

  • Backup your files and folders to an external hard drive
  • Backup your files and folders to any PC on your home network
  • Allow another PC on your home network to backup to your PC
  • Backup to a friends and vice versa PC over the Internet

If you want to backup to their Cloud, you must subscribe for $5/month. You can see their pricing here. Although the video below was created on a Mac, it’s similar on a PC.

If you are looking for a free data backup this may be right for you. If I had to choose between Carbonite and Crashplan I’d choose Crashplan, mainly since you can backup external drives without any extra cost.

There’s another tutorial here.

Jan 122016

Taking and Saving Screen Captures

There are various methods as follows:

  • Using the Windows Snipping Tool
    • You can create a shortcut to this program as follows:
      1. Open the Start menu, click All Apps and scroll down to Windows Accessories and open the menu
      2. Right-click the Snipping Tool and choose More, Open file location and click Properties
      3. Right-click the Snipping Tool program
      4. Select the Shortcut tab and click in the Shortcut key box
      5. Press any key combination to select your shortcut. In the picture below I selected Shift+F5

  • Using a program such as SnagIt
    • SnagIt has a setting that lets you choose the default hot key. It’s usually Printscreen. You may have to open its preferences to select this.
  • Use a free program such as Jing available here or Greenshot available here. From reading about them Jing looks much better.
  • Pressing Winkey + Printscreen captures the entire screen and places a copy on the Clipboard and in your user profile under Pictures, Screenshots.
    • If you have dual monitors and will capture both screens. SnagIt and the Snipping Tool can do this also.
  • You can take screen shots without any installed program as follows:
    • Pressing the Printscreen button will copy an picture of the Desktop to the Windows Clipboard
    • Using Alt+Printscreen will copy an picture of the active window only to the Windows Clipboard
  • To make it more interesting both Dropbox and OneDrive have options to save the screenshots to their folders
    • This only works if you do not have any screen capture running on your PC – but – you can only enables this in one of the programs only
    • For OneDrive, right-click the icon in the lower right, click Settings and go to the Auto save tab. The setting is at the bottom
    • For Dropbox, right-click the icon and click the gear in the upper right. Go to the import tab and choose your settings.
    • See the video below

Note: If you do not see the OneDrive or Dropbox icons, click the Up Arrow to expose all of the icons as shown below.

Final notes:

To test your Printscreen method, perform a screen capture, Open the Paint Program and click the Paste icon.
For a free Clipboard Manager try the ArsClip program from here. Look for the link as shown below.

Dec 272015

Win10 Pro and Win10 Pro Version 1511 let everyone push off updates — for weeks or months.

Win10 Home users are mostly out of luck, but a couple of options will still let you take some updating control.

Two safe ways to control Windows 10 updates

As anyone who follows Windows should now know, the task of patching Microsoft's newest OS is a big change from Win7. One aspect of Win10 updating is superior: the updates are cumulative, so you need only the most recent update to get fully patched — handy when setting up a new PC, rebuilding Windows, or upgrading from an older OS.

On the other hand, Win10 — especially the Home edition — offers fewer options than Win7 and Win8 for controlling whether and when updates are installed.

Win10 Home users have very few options for delaying updates. But they can use a trick that's reported in an InfoWorld article — tell Windows that you're on a low-bandwidth, metered Internet connection.

Microsoft knows that there are Windows users accessing the Net via cell-based connection or even dialup. To help prevent big updates from blowing through ISP data caps, Win10 includes the Set as a metered connection option (Settings/Network & Internet/Wi-Fi; note: if your PC doesn't have a wireless adapter, the Wi-Fi menu option won't appear).

A Microsoft FAQ lists what happens under a metered connection, but the main point is that only priority updates will be downloaded. Presumably, “priority” updates are typically security patches.

The better way for Win10 Home users to get more control over updates is to upgrade to the Pro edition. That will let you use Windows' group-policy settings. (To upgrade, click Settings/Update & Security/Activation and click the Go to Store button.) The upgrade will cost you U.S. $99. You'll then have the options discussed below.

Windows 10 Pro users can select the Defer updates option (Settings/Update & Security/Windows Update/Advanced options). That will put off feature updates for some unspecified number of weeks or months (until the next major update) but allow security updates to install immediately. That's better than nothing, but the recent Win10 upgrade adds more.

Managing updates in Windows 10 Professional

Pro versions of Win10 Version 1511 have settings Microsoft calls “Windows update for Business” — but in fact they're merely group-policy settings. Don't let the name fool you — it's possible to delay feature updates even if you're not a business or attached to a domain.

Here's a summary; you'll find additional details on an MS TechNet page.

Starting the group policy console: In Win10 Pro, click Start, enter gpedit.msc, and hit enter. When the editor opens, I always get a Namespace error. According to MS Support article 3077013, you can ignore the message and simply click OK.

Change to 'Current branch for business': In the group-policy editor, navigate to Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Update.

The Windows Update section has several adjustments I typically make that aren't related just to Win10. For example, to ensure I don't accidentally install updates upon system shutdown, I enable Do not display 'Install Updates and Shut down.' (You can also set this value via the Registry, as noted in an AskVG blog post.

Enable deferred updates: In Win10 Version 1511, while you're in the Windows Update options, enable the group-policy setting: Defer Upgrades and Updates. That action lets you put off feature upgrades for the next several months or until the next major feature release (or “branch” — Version 1511 was a branch release). The original Win10 RTM (the July release) has similar settings, but they didn't include an option to defer upgrades.

Some Windows Update settings caveats: Note that if you used group policies to turn off telemetry or make updating adjustments, the options within Defer Upgrades and Updates won't function.

These options include the following (see Figure 1):

Defer upgrades for the following duration: “Upgrades” means the large feature/branch releases. They can be delayed for up to eight months, in one-month increments. (For Win10 Pro users, the recent Version 1511 release will become a mandatory upgrade in eight months.)

Defer updates for the following duration: “Updates” include both security updates and cumulative updates. These can be delayed for up to four weeks, in one-week increments.

Pause Upgrades and Updates: This option pauses upgrades and updates until the next monthly upgrade/update release. (The installation of Windows Defender definition updates won't be affected by this setting.)

Defer Upgrades and Updates

According to the deferral information, if Specify intranet Microsoft update service location is enabled, none of above three options will function. Nor will they work if the Allow Telemetry policy is set to Enabled and the Options value is set to 0.

A 4sysops blog and a Microsoft post discuss the Pause Upgrades and Updates option, but it's still not sufficiently explained. For example, it's not clear is how the option interacts with Defer updates …. Does it push updates off for an additional 30 days?

Other important changes in Windows Update

Long-time Windows users will have to remember that, with Win10, there's no Windows Update in the Control Panel — you can access it only via the Start menu's Settings.

Also, to read the Windows Update log, you must open an elevated PowerShell window and run the Get-WindowsUpdateLog -ForceFlush command. That will put a plain-text version of the log on your desktop, as noted in MS Support article 3036646.


Dec 212015


Since Microsoft has not been updating Windows Live Mail it is likely that they will abandon it in the not too distant future. To be on the safe side you should have a backup plan. There are two choices as follows:

  • Switch to another Desktop Email program such as Outlook, which you have to purchase, or Thunderbird which you can download for free from here.
  • Switch to a Web based email service from Gmail, Yahoo Mail and others.


If you have any trouble with the directions below you can search Google for direction. Different version of the software mentioned may have slightly different instructions.


The first thing to do is to export you contacts so you can import them to your new email service. You can also export your messages.

Follow the steps below to export contacts from Windows Live Mail.

  1. Click Contact tab at your bottom-left.
  2. Click Export in the toolbar.
  3. Make sure CSV (Comma Separated Values) is highlighted.
  4. Click Export.
  5. Now click Browse. Pick a folder to save the exported contacts.
    Type the desired name under File name.
  6. Click Save.
  7. Now click Next.
  8. Make sure all the address book fields you want included are checked.
  9. Note that Windows Live Mail does not export first and last names separately, even though there are First Name and Last Name fields. Do choose Name instead.
  10. Click Finish.

Note: It’s not possible to export your Windows Live Messages into the correct formal to import into another email service. You can copy and paste any important messages to a word processor if you need to keep the information.

Importing contacts

  • In Gmail, go to contacts, click the More button and choose Import
  • In Yahoo Mail, click the Contacts icon as shown below and choose Import Contacts
  • For Outlook, click File, Open & Export, click Import/Export, click Import
    • Select Import from another program
    • Click Next and choose CSV
    • Navigate to where you Exported your contacts to
  • For Thunderbird, go to Tools, Import. Keep the default selection and click Next.
    • Select CSV and click Next
    • Navigate to where you exported your contacts to
  • For other email services you can search for instructions


Dec 192015

If you currently use Windows Live Mail you may want to read the following. I don’t plan on using it and will try to wean my clients away from the program.

The Microsoft Essentials pack, consisting of Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Live Writer (which is now available as an open source project) and Live Mail, has been in a state of limbo for quite a while now. The latest major update for the pack dates back to 2012 and still uses the Live branding that Microsoft abandoned in the same year.

All of these apps are still available for download, but one of these apps, Live Mail, will soon stop working without the installation of a new required update.

Because of underlying updates on the Microsoft mail platforms (Outlook/Hotmail), Live Mail will lose the ability to receive emails. However, since the application still has quite a few users, Microsoft has provided an update that will prolong the life of the mail application and allow it to receive mails once again.

Microsoft does recommend that any users of the Live Mail application switch over to the new Mail application that has been built-in to Windows 8 and Windows 10. These applications are still actively being developed, so it might be a smart choice to move over, since the support for Live Mail will probably end soon.

This free update is now available here and is dubbed “Update for Windows Live Essentials Mail 2012” (KB 3093594).

Here’s an email that Microsoft is sending out.

In a few weeks, we will be making some changes to our email services that might impact your @outlook.com, @hotmail, @live or @msn email account. These changes will prevent your email from being delivered to the Windows Live Mail 2012 application that you use.
In order to continue using Windows Live Mail 2012 to send and receive email for your account, you need to install the latest update published here.
If you use Windows Live Mail 2012 on Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, we recommend that you switch to the built-in Mail app in Windows to stay connected and get the latest feature updates on Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.
Windows Live Essentials 2009 and 2011 are not supported any more, and you will need to update to Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 10 and use the Mail app, or use www.outlook.com. To learn more about the Mail app, please click here.
We also recommend all Windows Live Mail users on Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 to upgrade to Windows 10 and use the built-in Mail application to stay connected and get the latest feature updates.
We suggest saving this email so you can refer to it later.
Thank you for your understanding and continued use.

Dec 192015

There’s basically 2 methods and I’ve tried them both.

  • Performing an upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8
  • Performing a clean install. This basically erases the hard drive and installs Windows 10 from scratch. See how to do this here.

Usually, performing an upgrade keeps all of your data and installed programs intact. However, it’s been my experience that following an upgrade, you may encounter some programs not running properly. There’s pros and cons to both methods but in my case, after a clean install, my PC was faster and required a lot less hard drive space. However, one or two programs that I used previously did not install at all.

I stuck with the clean install but had to replace two older programs. Your mileage may vary.

Note: After a clean install you might have to install 1 or 2 drivers that Windows 10 doesn’t include. To be on the safe side backup all of your drivers first and store them in a safe place. A free program for doing this can be found here.

Here’s some numbers:

I upgraded my Windows 7 PC to Windows 8 and just recently to Windows 10. My 128 GB Solid State Drive had only 15.8 GB of free space. However, after performing a clean install and reinstalling all of my software I had 71.8 GB of free space. This is a huge difference. So what caused my original multi-upgrade to occupy so much space? Well, over a period of 4 years of installing and uninstalling software there’s a buildup of files on your hard drive. There are possibly other factors as well but it’s nice to have a clean system. Now that I’ve done it once the next time will be easier.

Contact me if you have any questions.