Disable Your Laptop Touchpad

Do you want to disable your laptop touchpad?

Without a doubt, the touchpad is a Godsend.

It negates the need for a mouse, making working on the go a breeze. However, there can be a downside. Have this happened to you?

You’re working happily on your laptop only to brush the touchpad sending your cursor flying across your screen. Admittedly, it’s a small annoyance, but one that can get on your nerves after a while.

We’re here to banish life’s little annoyances, so here’s how you can temporarily disable your laptop’s touchpad.

Disable laptop touchpad

All laptops are different, so the method of disabling the touchpad will differ.

Some will have a physical switch that disables the touchpad. Others will offer a keyboard shortcut (such as pressing Fn and F7 simultaneously). So it’s best to check out your laptop’s handbook for the right method.

Disabling a touchpad in software

PCWorld also offers this advice if your manufacturer provides a way of customising and disabling your touchpad through software:

  1. Look for a touchpad icon in the notification area (lower-right corner). Double-click or right-click it to browse the touchpad options; disable the touchpad from here if possible
  2. If you don’t find a touchpad icon in the notification area, type control panel in the Windows search bar. Go to Hardware and Sound, and under Devices and Printers, click Mouse. The Mouse Properties window will open; you might find a tab in that window where you can disable the touchpad
  3. Look for a touchpad software entry in the Start menu if you can’t find it in the notification area or under Mouse Properties

If you don’t see a way to physically disable the touchpad or to disable it through software, you still have another option.

  • Click Start
  • Type device manager into the Search box. In the Device Manager, expand Mice and other pointing devices
  • Right-click the touchpad’s entry. In the menu that pops up, click Disable
  • Confirm your choice in the pop-up window

If you find touchpad software installed on your laptop, you might be able to adjust the settings and eliminate the touchpad’s annoying behaviour without disabling it. For example, some touchpad software allows you to change the sensitivity of the touchpad, ignore palm presses, and automatically disable the touchpad when the system detects an external mouse.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. 

Source: PCWorld

HP Expands Its Worldwide Voluntary Safety Recall

Back in January 2018, HP started a worldwide voluntary safety recall and replacement programme for certain notebook computers and mobile workstation batteries.

In January 2019, HP announced this programme is being expanded. The potentially affected batteries may have been shipped with the following HP models:

  • ProBook (64x G2 and G3 series, 65x G2 and G3 series, 4xx G4 (430, 440, 450, 455, and 470)),
  • x360,
  • ENVY m6,
  • Pavilion x360,
  • 11 Notebook Computers
  • ZBook (17 G3, 17 G4, and Studio G3)
  • Mobile Workstations sold worldwide from December 2015 through April 2018

Additionally, these batteries may have been sold as accessories or replacement batteries for the following models, or for any of the preceding products from December 2015 through December 2018 through HP or an authorised Service Provider:

  • ProBook 4xx G5 (430, 440, 450, 455, and 470),
  • ENVY 15,
  • Mobile Thin Clients (mt20, mt21, and mt31),
  • ZBook Studio G4 Mobile Workstation

These batteries have the potential to overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to customers.

Customers must recheck their batteries, even if they did so previously and were informed they were not affected

Customers should cease use of affected batteries immediately. As many of these batteries are internal to the system and are not customer replaceable, HP is releasing an update to the BIOS for batteries affected by this programme expansion that will discharge the battery and disable future charging until the battery is replaced. HP customers affected by this programme will be eligible to receive replacement battery services for each verified, affected battery at no cost.

Customers who have already received a replacement battery through the recall programme are NOT affected by this expansion.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.  

What Do You Do When Your Laptop’s Touchpad Stops Working?

A non-working laptop touchpad is a real pain.

If it’s only just stopped working, try switching your machine off and back on again. That sounds like a cop out, but it could be all your laptop needs.

If that doesn’t work, try this.

  1. Has it been accidentally disabled?

It is possible you have disabled it accidentally. This usually happens when the Fn key is depressed along with another key. This would probably have been one of the function keys. As to which one, that will be different for different laptops.

Start by looking out for a symbol that could represent your touchpad on one of the function keys. Or you could Google your model and “disable touchpad” to see if that helps.

If that doesn’t work, check your touchpad settings.

  1. It could be the driver

If none of the above help, it may mean you need a new driver. Go to your laptop’s manufacturers website and search “touchpad driver” to see if there is one you can download and install.

  1. Still not working

If all else fails, you could be looking at a hardware problem. That means either sending your laptop off for repair or buying an external mouse to get around the problem.

Hopefully, one of those suggestions has helped you get over your unresponsive touchpad problem.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. 

 

 

 

 

Mirror Your Smartphone Or Tablet Into Your TV

Do you know how to mirror your smartphone onto your TV?

Technology is changing at a ridiculously fast pace. Trying to keep up with it can be a nightmare, which is why we were pleased to come across this post on BullGuard.

It talks about how to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV. That means transferring the videos, films and so on, that you view on your mobile or tablet onto your TV screen.

Here are some of the ways you can do this.

Apple TV

Apple TV is a set-top box streaming device.  It provides a wide selection of apps, an intuitive touch remote and direct access to iTunes.

It has a feature called Airplay which allows you to mirror video, audio, and any other content wirelessly from your iOS device to any TV display with an HDMI input.

You do this by swiping up from the bottom of the Apple iPhone screen and clicking the Airplay symbol in the quick menu. This looks like a square with a triangle through it.

Roku

Roku provides a bewildering array of streaming devices. Its newest versions now provide mirroring functionality for Android and Windows devices. The mirroring service is available for Android devices running 4.2 or higher and Windows devices running 8.1 or higher.

Your smartphone or tablet must support mirroring though that said most do.

  • Android: For Android devices, there are a confusing number of terms for mirroring. These include Smart View, Quick Connect, SmartShare, AllShare Cast, Wireless Display, HTC Connect, Screen Casting, and Cast.

Once you’ve identified the correct terminology, you can usually enable mirroring from the settings menu under ‘network or display’ headings.
Windows 8.1 and higher: If you’ve got a Windows 8.1 or higher device check this page for mirroring instructions. It’s simpler than us explaining to you.
For Windows 10 devices:

  • Open the Action Center
  • Select Project
  • Connect to a wireless display
  • Select the Roku device on your network

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon’s Fire TV’s latest incarnation, the Fire TV Cube, provides the ability to control most of your home theatre tech with only your voice.
Andy user with a compatible device can use it. Enabled devices include Android devices running 4.2 or higher, Amazon’s Fire HDX tablets,
To enable mirroring, go to:

  • Settings
  • Display & Sounds
  • Enable Display Mirroring
  • Then connect your desired device from your Android phone or tablet.

Dongles

  • Chromecast: Chromecast has become the go-to device for affordable wireless streaming.

For those with 4K UHD TVs, Chromecast Ultra offers 4K streaming in small form factor. A 4K TV provides Ultra High Definition provides eight million pixels to deliver detail, depth and vibrant colour.

Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra also feature near latency-free mirroring of anything on an Android smartphone or tablet, including games, photos, video, and more.

It can also mirror anything from a Mac or PC’s Chrome browser by simply clicking the Cast button in the corner of your browser.

However, Chromecast mirroring doesn’t support iOS content loaded on your device, but it can be used to stream content from apps such as YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, and more.

  • Miracast: Third-party Miracast devices from lesser-known companies are available for Android.

Miracast is a Wi-Fi certified high-definition wireless protocol. It does not require a Wi-Fi network. Instead, it sets up its private streaming network.

It is extremely versatile and offers a host of mirroring capabilities. While it works with Android devices, it is also useful for mirroring PCs.

Thanks, BullGuard.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

Source: BullGuard

How to Securely Access Your Computer Using a Remote Device

 

remote access

What was once a pain in the neck has now become surprising easy.

You can use the traditional methods, like third-party software, or you could use Windows 10’s easy-to-use tools, which are designed to enable you to remotely link your smartphone (Windows, Android or iOS) to your desktop PC.

Here are a few options for you.

Windows 10

Windows 10 is, in many senses, similar to its predecessors, but this incarnation has been designed for a multiple device world.

This means you can move between a phone and tablet and access your desktop PC from these devices.

  • Windows 10 has a ‘Phone Companion’ app built-into it that helps you connect your Windows PC to your smartphone – whether it’s a Windows phone, Android phone, or iPhone
  • When you launch the Phone Companion app on your PC, simply pick which type of phone you use –Windows phone, Android phone, or iPhone. With a Windows phone, there’s nothing extra needed
  • For an Android phone or iPhone you need to follow a few steps to get the right apps on your phone to make it work in conjunction with your Windows 10 PC
  • All your files and content will be available on your PC and your phone

OneDrive

OneDrive is an important part of Microsoft’s platform, and in Windows 10 it’s central to the operating system.

Basically, OneDrive is a file hosting service that allows users to sync files and later access them from a web browser or mobile device. Users can share files publicly or with their contacts.

  • With the OneDrive app setup on your phone, every photo you take on your phone will show up automatically in the Photos app on your Windows 10 PC.
  • With the Music app, you can store and access your music from OneDrive not only on your PC but also play it anywhere on your iOS or Android phone (it already works on Windows phones).
  • This means the music playlists you have on your Windows 10 PC will now show up and be automatically playable on your phone.
  • Notes you write on your PC in OneNote will show up on your phone. And any note you tweak on your phone will get synced to your PC.
  • You can also work on your Office documents from any of your devices, without worrying about moving files around.

Virtual private networks

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a secure method of connecting a remote computer or other devices to a server, using special protocols to establish a temporary bridge between the two machines.

The level of sophistication you will need in terms of choosing the right VPN will depend on how many remote devices you want to connect.

However not all VPNs are the same. Before setting up a VPN, the type of network protocol has to be chosen. There are four options:

  • SSL (Secure Socket Layer) – this is the encryption used by online banking and commerce sites. For very small businesses, SSL is ideal as the VPN is set up via an internet browser.
  • Open VPN – if cost is an issue, this VPN is based on open source SSL code but as its name suggests, the code can be seen – and potentially hacked – by anyone.
  • PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol) – this is supported by Windows, Apple operating systems and mobile operating systems, which makes it ideal in the world of mobile computing
  • IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) and L2TP (Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol) – these VPNs are more secure than PPTP but are more complex to set up

There are quite a few VPN services to choose from so it’s vital you pay close attention to the service level agreement. Often you will be giving your agreement to be plagued by adverts and irritating content.

Remote desktop access

Remote desktop refers to software or an operating system feature that allows a personal computer’s desktop environment to be run remotely on one computer while being displayed on a separate computer.

This software is usually associated with remote administration by IT staff who don’t have to physically travel to the location where the computer is. But it also allows users to connect their device to any PC connected to the internet and recreate their desktop via a connection to the cloud.

Some of the best known services are:

  • TeamViewer
  • LogMeIn
  • GoToMyPC

Windows remote access

Last, but not least, is Windows that offers remote desktop connection from a computer running Windows to another computer running Windows as long as it is connected to the internet.

This means you can use all of your work computer’s programs, files, and network resources from a remote computer, and it’s like you’re sitting in front of your computer at home or work.

That said enabling Windows Remote Desktop can be a little tricky if you’re not specifically tech literate as it requires knowledge of port forwarding, firewalls, and router settings.

 

So there you go. There are several options available to you should you want to securely access your computer using a remote device. All you have to do is pick the one that fits your needs and budget.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: BullGuard

How Well Do You Know The Company That’s Hosting Your Website?

When hosting goes wrong

Your website is your business so your choice of hosting company is important.

What would you do if it suddenly vanished?

Panic?

Well that’s exactly what happened to some of 123.reg’s customers.

According to a recent story on the BBC website in April, the web hosting firm accidentally deleted an unspecified number of its customers’ websites.

So what happened?

Well, many of its clients use a virtual private server (VPS), a machine that hosts hundreds of websites, but mimics the functionality of a private server. The company said that while performing a “clean-up” operation on its VPS systems a coding error in its software “effectively deleted” customers websites.

Wow!

Of course, you would think that a company like 123.reg that hosts about 1.7m sites in the UK could have a backup in case this type of things happen, wouldn’t you?

They don’t.

They told the BBC it didn’t have a backup copy of all its customers’ data, but was working with a data recovery specialist to “manage the process of restoration.” In other words, it was advising its customers to rebuild their own websites with their own backup data.

What?

The went on to say:

“Our VPS product is an unmanaged service and we always recommend that customers implement backups to safeguard against unexpected issues,” the company said.

“Customers who had purchased 123-reg backups can be online now.”

“Many of our customers keep their own backups.”

The data loss left the affected online businesses without a website and the company has been flooded with messages on social media criticising them for their lack of communication.

In an email sent to its customers, 123-reg said it had “begun copying recovered VPS images to new hosts” and expected some websites to be restored overnight.

It said it would audit all its automated scripts and prevent customer websites from being deleted without human approval in the future.

Little comfort for those businesses affected.

Who’s hosting your website?

This highlights the need for diligence when choosing your hosting company.

Granted, issues like this can’t be foreseen, especially by you, but by opting for a local company over a huge player could be a good option.

For a start you should be able to get answers out of them quickly should the worse happen. But mainly, using a local supplier will mean you’re going to be more than just another sale to them.

Big isn’t always best.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: BBC

 

Finding Your iPhone with “Find My iPhone”

find your iPhone

If you’re like me, your entire life revolves around your iPhone.

Gone are the days when a mobile phone was just there to make and receive calls and texts. Now, it is where you house your diary, contact’s names, lists, photos, videos and just about any thing else you hold dear.

So what happens when the unthinkable occurs?

It’s your worst nightmare.

Your iPhone is lost or stolen.

Before you go into melt down, here is a simple list of instructions (courtesy of Apple support) that will help you find your iPhone – that is of course assuming you’ve enabled the aptly named Find My iPhone on your handset.

  1. Sign into icloud.com/find on a Mac or PC, or you can use the Find My iPhone app on another Apple device.
  2. Find your device. Open Find My iPhone and select a device to view its location on a map. If it’s near by you can get it to play a sound to help you or someone nearer find it.
  3. Turn on Lost Mode so you can remotely lock your device with a 4 digit passcode, display a custom message with your phone number on your missing device’s lock screen and keep track of its location. If you have added card details to Apple Pay, the ability to make payments will be suspended when you put your device in Lost Mode.
  4. Report you lost or stolen phone to the local Police department who will need your serial number.
  5. The next step is to erase your iPhone so no one else can access your information. If you decide to go down this route everything will be wiped including  the ability to find your phone using Find My iPhone. If you remove the device from your account after you erase it, the activation lock will be turned off, allowing another person to activate it and use it.

If you use Family Sharing, any family member can help locate another member’s missing device. Just have your family member sign in to iCloud with their Apple ID, and you can find any device associated with that Family Sharing account.

What if your iOS device is off or offline?

If your missing device is off or offline, you can still put it in Lost Mode, lock it, or remotely erase it. The next time your device is online, these actions will take effect. If you remove the device from your account while it’s offline, any pending actions for the device will be cancelled.

How do you turn off or cancel Lost Mode?

You can turn off Lost Mode by entering the passcode on your device. You can also turn off Lost Mode on iCloud.com or from the Find My iPhone app.

If Find My iPhone isn’t enabled on your missing device

If you didn’t turn on Find My iPhone before your device was lost or stolen, you can’t use it to locate your device. However, you can use these steps to help protect your data:

  1. Change your Apple ID password. By changing your Apple ID password you can prevent anyone from accessing your iCloud data or using other services (such as iMessage or iTunes) from your missing device.
  2. Change the passwords for other internet accounts on your device. This could include email accounts, Facebook, or Twitter.
  3. Report your lost or stolen device to local law enforcement. Law enforcement might request the serial number of your device. Find your serial number:
    • On the original box or receipt
    • On My Support Profile (apple.com) if you registered your device with your Apple ID
  4. Report your lost or stolen device to your wireless carrier. Your carrier can disable the account, preventing phone calls, texts, and data use.

The moral is – keep your iPhone safe at all times, and make sure Find My iPhone is enabled.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: Apple Support

15 Essential Microsoft Word Shortcuts

Word shortcuts

 

Microsoft Word is one of those programmes you use every day (pretty much) without giving it a second thought.

But what if there was a way to be more productive?

It’s the same with anything you use regularly.

You become overly familiar with it and then continue to use it as as you always have, even if there’s a quicker way to get things done.

That’s the problem with Word. It’s certainly not the hardest bit of software to use, so the way you use it seems perfectly OK. However, just a few minutes of your time will make you more productive.

Below are 15 really useful keyboard shortcuts that you, or may not know about. They work for both Word for Windows 2013 and 2016.

Ready?

Here goes.

  1. Keyboard Access to the Ribbon: Just like Excel, Word has a method that lets you access menu items using only your keyboard. Just press Alt or F10 and letters will appear next to each visible menu item. Press the corresponding letter to activate a particular menu option. To get rid of the labels, press Esc.
  2. Ctrl + F1: Display or hide the Ribbon.
  3. Ctrl + K: Insert a hyperlink for the selected text.
  4. Ctrl + F: Open the search box in the navigation pane.
  5. Alt + Ctrl + S: Split or remove split in the document window.
  6. Ctrl + Backspace: Delete one word to the left.
  7. Shift + F3: Change the case of the selected letters.
  8. Alt + Shift + W: Underline the selected words, but not the spaces included in the selection.
  9. Ctrl + 1: Set single-line spacing.
  10. Ctrl + 2: Set double-line spacing.
  11. Ctrl + 5: Set 1.5-line spacing.
  12. Ctrl + Y: Re-do the last action.
  13. Ctrl + Enter: Insert page break.
  14. Ctrl + W: Close the current document.
  15. Alt + F4: Close the program.

How many did you already know?

Not many I’m guessing.

There’s lot to remember there, so bookmark this page for easy reference until you’ve committed  them all to memory.

Happy typing.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Wi-Fi Assist – What’s All The Fuss About?

Mobile data and wi-fi assist

 

If you own an iPhone and are using iOS9, you’ve probably already heard about Wi-Fi Assist.

It’s a new feature that’s been getting a lot of attention lately, especially with some reports stating that it could cost you a lot if you have a limited mobile data plan.

This is how it works: if you’re using your iPhone at home and wander outside losing your Wi-Fi signal, Wi-Fi Assist will allow your mobile data to kick in so you don’t lose connection.

 

It’s designed to work only when your Wi-Fi signal is too weak to deliver content. To be honest, before it existed you would provably have switched to mobile data anyway, therefore it’s unlikely to result in higher charged than you would normally incur.

How to disable Wi-Fi Assist

Of course, as with all the features available on your iPhone, you do have the option to disable Wi-Fi Assist.

All you have to do is follow these simple steps.

  1. Go to “Settings” from your home screen

iPhone

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Click on “Mobile Data”.

iPhone mobile data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Scroll down past your apps, right to the bottom where you’ll find “Wi-Fi Assist”. Switch it to off using the toggle.

iPhone wi-fi assist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a data cap, although unlikely to cause you excessive charges, it could be wise to disable this feature, just to be on the safe side.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Trade Your Gadgets in at Argos

Argos recycle programme

 

With the festive season just around the corner, you’ve probably filled your Christmas wish list with a few of the latest must have gadgets and gizmos.

What are you going to do with your old stuff?

Phones, tablets, gaming systems and the like go out of fashion faster than a fast thing. Just when you think you’re up to date, something newer, shinier and better comes along. The old ‘dated’ stuff gets chucked in the back of a cupboard and forgotten about. In fact, research has shown that UK residents are hoarding up to £1 billion worth of technology that’s no longer being used.

Rather than fill your cupboards, why not trade them in?

ComputerWeekly recently reported on one retailer’s campaign to encourage us to trade in our unwanted tech.

Argos has partnered with the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to offer  an ‘instant redemption’ service for old, unwanted electrical products.The trade in service will be available in its stores across the UK.

The service currently stretches to mobile phones and tablets and should stop products form being sent to landfill with they could be recycled, preserving reusable materials used in devices that are disappearing. In fact, about 40% of electrical products are binned when they could be recycled, but two thirds of consumers would be willing to trade the products in through a reputable retailer.

The project is backed by EU Life+ funding and aims to help businesses innovate to become more energy efficient and to provide pilots of more resource efficient business models.

Director of WRAP, Marcus Gover, says: “Our research told us consumers have an appetite for trading in and Argos is now providing a convenient and easy way for them to do just that and release the value from their unwanted gadgets.”

Devices can be traded in for an Argos gift card, which can then be used towards a new device or to get your hands on any of Argos’ thousands of products. The traded in devices then get recycled, or refurbished and resold.

Head of corporate responsibility at Argos, Amy Whidburn, says if this initial service goes down well with customers the company will think of extending it to other technologies in the future such as cameras, satnavs or laptops.

So, when you get your new stash of tech form Santa, make sure you take your old, unwanted stuff to Argos and get it recycled.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.