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 […]


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 […]


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. […]


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 […]


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 […]


Windows 10 & Xbox One

A couple cool new things coming for Windows 10 and the Xbox One. First, the Xbox One is going to get an update to the Windows 10 kernel. This should help the Xbox with a lot more apps (universal apps), as well as bring DirectX 12 to the system.

"One of the monthly updates that you’ll get on [Xbox One] is gonna change from the Windows 8 kernel that’s in there now to the Windows 10 kernel," Microsoft Xbox lead Phil Spencer said during a group interview in Redmond, Washington, yesterday. "I know a lot of people are excited about things like Cortana and other features they see on Windows 10. Obviously getting on the Windows 10 kernel — well, it’s not really the kernel — but Windows 10 OS inside of Xbox One is an important first step to unlock a lot of what [Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore] showed."

Next is the Xbox One can stream to the PC. So, with an Xbox controller, you can play your Xbox One games on your PC display. That sounds neat, but what about the other way around? Can you play PC games on your Xbox One setup? Microsoft is investigating the possibilities of that. In theory, it could easily work. PC games on the big screen look great and play great. However, not everyone can have a PC in their living room or connected to their HDTV. Having the ability to stream it to your already connected Xbox One would be excellent.

But now the company has said that it is also looking into the reverse – streaming Windows 10 games from other devices to play on your Xbox One.

"We’re actively investigating that right now," Xbox exec Mike Ybarra explained during a roundtable interview attended by Eurogamer’s man on the ground Jeffrey Matulef.

Windows RT Not Getting Windows 10

Windows RT, the gimpy version of Windows for tablets, isn’t getting a full upgrade to Windows 10 as the desktop and phone are. Instead, they get “an update … which will have some of the functionality of Windows 10.”. Windows RT isn’t a bad OS. The Surface RT is a good device. However, when you compare it to the Surface Pro or some of the other (less expensive) Windows 8.1 devices running a full version of Windows 8.1, it really can’t compare.

I left the iPad due to it’s limitations. It’s strictly a tablet and has a productivity barrier. Even with some decent apps and a Bluetooth keyboard, I was limited quite a bit. The RT has the same limitations. Going to a full edition of Windows is an easy solution.

Honestly, I can’t say I’m surprised. If anything, I’m more surprised that it’s lasted this long. After third party OEM’s dropped RT, and the limited install base, I would have thought it’d be dropped a year ago. I’m glad they are supporting it for those users that did buy into it. I would love to have an RT device. I have a Surface Pro 3, which does great. But, I’d love a second device to use strictly as a tablet – e-reader, apps, some games, Office. Great battery life, and simple and sweet.

The company on Wednesday spent nearly two and a half hours at a press event talking up Windows 10, the latest version of its operating system that’s trying to fix the problems from Windows 8. But it devoted only a few seconds to Windows RT, saying during a Q&A with reporters that it is “working on an update for Windows RT as well.”

Windows 10 Presentation

For those that missed it, Microsoft has a blog update showing what was shown at today’s event for Windows 10. A lot of really cool stuff. Windows 10 Insiders get an update within the next week to showcase a lot of the new features. Should be extremely fun to play around with.

Some other excellent things were shown during the presentation: HoloLens, Surface Hub,  Windows 10 Phone, Xbox Streaming… A good presentation, for sure. I’m definitely impressed with the new Windows 10, and I knew a bit of this before hand. Seeing it in action made a big impression, as did some of the other technologies shown.

One big question answered – if you own Windows 7 or 8, you get a free upgrade to Windows 10 as long as you do it within a year of release. No, this isn’t a year free of a subscription service. This is a year long promotion to get it for free – for the life of the device.

Today was a monumental day for us on the Windows team because we shared our desire to redefine the relationship we have with you – our customers. We announced that a free upgrade for Windows 10 will be made available to customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 who upgrade in the first year after launch.*

This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no additional charge. With Windows 10, the experience will evolve and get even better over time. We’ll deliver new features when they’re ready, not waiting for the next major release. We think of Windows as a Service – in fact, one could reasonably think of Windows in the next couple of years as one of the largest Internet services on the planet.

Windows 7 Mainstream Support Ends Today

Today means the end of free support for Windows 7. While this isn’t the end of the world, if you’re looking for free support for Windows 7 directly from Microsoft, you are now out of luck (although, myself and many others offer our assistance in the Microsoft Answers forums for consumers and Technet forums for IT Pro’s). Microsoft will continue to support Windows 7 with it’s Extended Support, which will offer patches and updates until 2020 when it reaches it’s end of life, similar to the recent Windows XP end of life.

Win7 Support

Microsoft Comments on Google Disclosure of Windows Flaw

Microsoft has blogged about a call for a better Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure in response to the recent Google fiasco (Google released information of a Windows flaw to the public before Microsoft had released a patch). I think there are times when open communication between even the biggest competitors is necessary, and security is one of those times. If you tarnish the security reputation of one product, consumer’s will view other products with a similar distrust.

Those in favor of full, public disclosure believe that this method pushes software vendors to fix vulnerabilities more quickly and makes customers develop and take actions to protect themselves. We disagree. Releasing information absent context or a stated path to further protections, unduly pressures an already complicated technical environment. It is necessary to fully assess the potential vulnerability, design and evaluate against the broader threat landscape, and issue a “fix” before it is disclosed to the public, including those who would use the vulnerability to orchestrate an attack. We are in this latter camp.

Microsoft Releases EEO Information

Microsoft has released their Equal Employment Opportunity information showing the breakdown of minorities and woman in their ranks. While I’d love to see women and minorities rank higher, I would much rather see hiring practices show that they hired the best person for the job – through experience, education and knowledge.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella released diversity statistics on Microsoft, to make good on a promise Nadella made to Reverend Jesse Jackson to release the company’s EEO-1 (Equal Opportunity form which breaks down race, ethnicity and gender of workforces by job classification) on December 3rd, 2014. Microsoft released a report saying women made up 29% of Microsoft, but civil rights activists pushed the company to release the EE0-1, which contains more accurate information.

Microsoft Hasn’t Forgotten About Windows Phone

For those of us with Windows Phones, we sometimes feel left out. Not only from certain app’s, but from support from Microsoft themselves. Joe Belfiore has tried to reassure fans that Microsoft is not ignoring Windows Phone users, and there is a bright future ahead. I tend to agree with Paul Thurrott here –

Don’t live in China? Then you’ll thrill to learn that Microsoft is also working hard to improve Windows Phone … specifically for China. That stuff will be revealed in the coming months and … whatever.

I assume and hope that Belfiore is simply trying to keep a lid on what Microsoft will announce later this month and that 2015 will be nothing like 2014. But as a long-suffering Windows Phone fan, I’ve received precious little good news this past year. I do understand the need to attract the next billion. But let’s not actually forget about your current users and biggest fans in the process, Microsoft. Please.

Track Santa with Microsoft and NORAD

Get in the holiday spirit this year and track Santa Claus with Microsoft and NORAD. The site is optimized for use with Internet Explorer, and offers a real time tracking system for the big guy in red. Desktop and mobile apps are available, as are fun coloring pages and games.

The NORAD Tracks Santa website features a beautiful, inviting landscape in the classic “Claymation” holiday style. The experience is optimized for touch, from the rotatable globe to the parallax-style navigation to the brand new games. On December 24th, when Santa’s journey begins, you will be able to track him on an interactive, 3D globe – featuring a Bing Maps overlay. Additionally, at every stop along the way, users will be able to click off to a specially-curated Bing results page – to get fun facts and beautiful imagery for each location.

Microsoft Cuts Out Clip Art

Microsoft Office will no longer use it’s built in clip art. Instead, they are moving to Bing Image search using images that are under the Creative Commons licensing. Good news for most, as you get a much larger collection of high quality images.

The Clip Art and image library has closed shop. Customers can still add images to their documents, presentations, and other files that they have saved to their devices (phones, tablets, and PCs), OneDrive, and SharePoint.  Customers also still have the ability to add images to their documents using Bing Image Search.

Microsoft and Dropbox Partnership

Microsoft has partnered with online storage service Dropbox. This will allow Dropbox users easier access to documents and storage with Microsoft Office products, most importantly Microsoft Office. This should help make life a bit easier for Office users and Dropbox users.

The deal has four main parts: Quickly editing Office docs from the Dropbox mobile app, accessing Dropbox docs from Office apps, sharing Dropbox links of Office apps, and the creation of first-party Dropbox apps for Microsoft’s mobile offerings.