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Use Start Screen Instead of Start Menu

In Windows 10, the Start menu is the default option for pressing the start button. However, many people are used to the full screen Start screen introduced in Windows 8. Here is how to change the default behavior of the […]

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Missing Graphics and Icons in Office 2013 – Solution

    We recently had a migration to Office 2013 at work. We had an issue on several PC’s where we would have missing graphics on the application – from missing icons, to missing arrows on pull down menus, even […]

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Change Temperature To Celsius in Outlook 2013

  The calendar in Outlook 2013 had a nice feature that lets you see the weather forecast. But, it defaults to Fahrenheit for its measure of temperature. Here is how you can change the measurement to Celsius, if you prefer. […]

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Adding an email Signature to Outlook 2013

Adding a signature to your outgoing emails is something many people do to save time when writing emails and not having to type the same contact information below your email. Here is how to set up a signature to Outlook […]

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What does my Excel Spreadsheet icon have an exclamation point?

With the introduction of Office 2007, Macro enabled worksheets saved as .XLSM files show the exclamation point as part of the icon. This is not to show that it is an error or that it is dangerous, only to inform […]

 

New Preview Build for Windows 10

The Windows Blog tells us a new build for Windows 10 Technical Preview is available. The new build, build 9860, has some issues, but brings in a few new additions as well. As usual, it’s a work in progress and shouldn’t be considered a fully functional OS for production systems.

To get the update manually, go to PC Settings, Update & recovery, Preview Builds, and check for updates. The new update will download and install automatically. For those that want to wait for it to update automatically, it will do some at night, and be ready for you in the morning. Just leave your PC running.

A lot of stuff coming in from user feedback, using the feedback tool, forums and the new Windows Suggestion Box program.

  • Action Center for Windows PCs. As we shared when we announced Windows 10 in September, we aren’t limiting our view to one specific device type. We are looking across our entire product family to look at ways to bring great experiences to our customers across different devices. So with this build, we’re bringing “Action Center” from Windows Phone over to the PC as the place where you can see and follow up on all actionable items. This build is focused ONLY on enabling basic notifications – quick actions and cleaner UI will come later. You’ll see notifications from the system and apps – from new emails and invites to IMs, Facebook posts and more – all in one place, so you don’t miss a thing. Click on the new Action Center icon in the notification area of your taskbar to check it out.

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  • Move apps easily from one monitor to another. When you’re working on multiple monitors, use WIN+SHIFT+<arrow> to move the active app to another monitor. You can find a list of new keyboard shortcuts for navigating and managing your multiple desktops here in this blog post.
  • Animation for switching desktops. One of the pieces of feedback that you gave us was that it was hard to know when you were switching desktops. We addressed your feedback by adding an animation to make it clear that you are switching. Check it out by creating some new desktops and moving between them.

Windows Feature Suggestion Box

Microsoft has a new way to suggest ideas, features and suggestions for Windows – Windows Feature Suggestion Box. Using User Voice, it allows you to submit feedback for Windows. Users get to vote on the best submissions and Microsoft will look at the highest voted suggestions and see if they can implement them in a future update of Windows.

Users get 20 votes to start and can vote 1-3 times per suggestion. When you are out of votes, you can take away from previous voted suggestion. If a suggestion is added into Windows, you get those votes back. This is used for suggesting features and not for submitting bugs and errors to the Windows team.

Windows Phone has a similar User Voice available, and I have voted on and submitted several ideas over the years, and many have been implemented. Microsoft does listen and take these suggestions seriously.

It is a nice feeling when you suggest a feature and people vote on it. Seeing that feature in Windows, and knowing that you had a part in getting it in the product (one way or another).

Microsoft is moving in the right direction by taking a lot of input from users via the feedback tool in Windows 10 Technical Preview, Windows Feature Suggestion Box, MVP program, and other avenues.

Windows Feature Suggestion Box provides the Windows PC/Tablet user community with a channel for feedback. To help us build the best version of Windows ever, we created this forum to hear your ideas, suggestions and feedback. Please vote for a feature suggestion or submit your own!

How Does This Work?

Standard Disclaimer – our lawyers made us put this here ;-) Please note that the Windows Feature Suggestion Box is moderated and is a voluntary participation-based project. If your submission is not a product feature suggestion it may be removed. Please do not send any novel or patentable ideas, copyrighted materials, samples or demos which you do not want to grant a license to Microsoft. Your submission is subject to these License Terms . Please limit your suggestions to 25 words or less.

 

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Windows 10 Technical Preview Available

Microsoft has released the Technical Preview for Windows 10 this morning. Jump in, grab the installation ISO (available in multiple languages in 32 and 64 bit versions) and install. I recommend doing it on a VM or spare machine, not your production machine. There is always the possibility to lose data (rare, but I don’t like taking the chances).

Important

    • Remember, trying out an early build like this can be risky. That’s why we recommend that you don’t install the preview on your primary home or business PC. Unexpected PC crashes could damage or even delete your files, so you should back up everything.

    • If you want to stop using Windows Technical Preview and return to your previous version of Windows, you’ll need to reinstall your previous version from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC—typically a DVD. If you don’t have recovery media, you might be able to create a USB recovery drive.

    • After you install Windows Technical Preview, you won’t be able to use the recovery partition on your PC to go back to your previous version of Windows.

Introducing Windows 10 Video

Microsoft has released a new video introducing Windows 10 as well as the Windows Insider program. Insider program opens tomorrow, as well as the download for the technical preview. As with previous tech previews – they are meant as beta software and not the final product (there were a lot of people thinking it was the final version when Win 8 was in preview).

They have also updated their Windows blog with an “Introduction to Windows 10″ post as well, with more details – http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/2014/09/30/announcing-windows-10/

The Verge Live Blog for Windows 9

Just a heads up that the new Windows event starts at 10am PST. The Verge is live blogging the event at http://live.theverge.com/microsoft-windows-9-event-live-blog/.

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ZDNet Lists 5 New Features Windows 9 Needs to Win

ZDNet has an article saying what it needs to get Windows 9 the love it needs. It’s actually 12, but the last 7 are in bullet points near the end… I’ll say that the #3 item on there would be huge. With a lot of people, myself included, using an SSD for OS and a standard drive for applications and data, it’d make a lot of sense to have an option to separate the two. Right now, it can be done with a registry change. However, it can break some applications (you have to install IE first, then change the path for Program File). Little tweaks like that would be extremely beneficial to some users.

It’s 2014, and drives are cheap. It should be easy – and by easy, I mean as close to automatic as possible – to make Windows take notice of the fact a system has multiple drives and use one for Windows and programs, and the other for data.

Taking this a step further, I’d like to see Windows isolate all applications from the operating system in such a way that I can, with a click of the mouse, either blitz all the settings of a specific application to default, or even remove that application from the system, deleting all of its setting with it. This would go a long way to eliminating the bitrot and slowdowns that affect Windows as time goes on.

Windows 8 already has a feature that rolls Windows back to an “out of the box” state, but this is a very blunt instrument. Repairing an operating s system should no longer means nuking everything and starting from scratch.

 

“Confirmed” Windows 9 Free Upgrade for Windows 8 Users

Several sites are running with the story that Windows 9 will be a free upgrade to Windows 8 users. Now, this was a slip from a Indonesian Microsoft executive, and not the Microsoft corporation itself. If it is a valid rumor, it’s excellent news for everyone that is running Windows 8 right now. But, I would still take it with a grain of salt. It’s not necessary a “confirmation” with this. At most, it’s a likely rumor.

According to Diantoro, the Windows 9 upgrade will be available free of charge to all existing Windows 8 users once it’s released. Apparently, users will be able to easily install the Windows 9 update after downloading it from Microsoft, which is how Apple’s OS X updates have been rolled out to Macs for a few years now. For what it’s worth, some of the recent Windows 9 leaks did say that Microsoft already has a tool in place that will allow users to easily perform software updates.

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter Announced

Microsoft is releasing their new Wireless Display Adapter, which will allow you to display your PC/Tablet/Laptop screen onto an HDMI HDTV. There are similar products out there currently, and I am curious as to how it stacks up against the competition. Release date is late October, so there should be reviews out by release time. I might have to grab one of these and post a review myself. There are a lot of uses at work for this type of device.

All you need to do is plug the USB end and HDMI end of the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter into an HDTV, monitor or projector. Then select the right input on your TV, pair it with your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and you’ll be ready to go. Then just wirelessly project your screen from your Miracast-enabled device. It’s that simple. Depending on your device, you can have it mirror exactly what’s being shown on the screen of your device or extend its screen. Because the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter uses Miracast technology, you’re not limited to certain apps or content streaming. It’ll show anything and everything from your device!

Throw Back Thursday

Here’s an old parody video from Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer for your throwback Thursday enjoyment. I’ve noticed that Microsoft always has a few videos like this around. Seems the management likes to have fun every once in a while!

Cortana to Support INSTEON Devices

Home automation. Some love it, some hate it. With programmable thermostats, lighting, alarm systems, even yard irrigation able to be controlled by a computer, it’s becoming more commonplace. INSTEON, a major player in the home automation and lighting industry, has teamed with Microsoft to provide voice controls for their system via Cortana and the Windows Phone 8.1 handsets.

“The availability of voice interaction capabilities is a major development in the evolution of the home automation industry,” said Steven Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President & Chief Evangelist for Microsoft.  “In recent years, consumers have become increasingly accustomed to voice-activated commands on their smart phones.  Bringing Microsoft Cortana voice interaction capabilities to the popular INSTEON line of products opens up a whole new world of connected home engagement and use cases that will enhance our lives.”