People keep telling you to make sure you have backups of everything. But did you know Windows 10 makes life easier for you? Especially when it comes to past versions of documents.
File History takes snapshots of your files as you go and stores them on an external hard drive connected via USB or over your home network.
Getting started with File History
First, open the Settings app and go to Update & Security > Backup.
Next, hook up your external hard drive and in the Settings app, click the + next to Add a drive. When the prompt appears, choose the drive you want, and that’s it.
File History will now start archiving your data.
By default, it backs up all the folders in your User folder every hour and keeps past copies of your files forever.
You can change these settings by clicking More options under the on/off slider.
Customising File History’s settings
The next screen you see is for Backup options.
At the top is an option to start a manual backup. Below that are drop-down menus offering a range of frequency choices from every 10 minutes to once a day.
If you get low on space, click on the drop-down menu under Keep my backups and select Until space is needed.
Adding a folder is simple: click + under Back up these folders. To remove one, scroll down to find it, click on it to highlight is and then click Remove.
You can also create a list of folders you want to exclude from automatic backup towards the bottom of the screen.
Once File History is enabled you can access older versions of a file by right clicking on a file in File Explorer, and selecting Restore previous versions. This is the same as right-clicking the file and going to the Properties > Previous Versions window.
Everything is taking longer. Your patience is being tried as your frustrations grow.
Do you just accept that’s what happens over time, or do you do something about it?
The answer is the latter, and we have five handy hints to help you speed things up.
This is so obvious you may have already tried it. However, if you haven’t it’s time to reboot.
Putting your PC to sleep helps save power, but it does little else to enhance performance. A reboot will spring clean Window’s brain to give is a fresh lease of life. You can do it every day is your machine is exceptionally slow.
Today, everything is about saving the environment, which is why your PC wants to work as energy-efficiently as possible.
However, it is possible to trade electricity for speed. All you have to do is right-click Start and then select Power Options. Pull down the Show additional plans option and select High performance.
The drawback is that you’ll use more electricity and it will have a detrimental effect on your battery’s performance.
Adjust for best performance
Trading a few aesthetics will also give you a bit more speed.
Right-click Start, and select System. Then in the Control Panel’s left pane select Advanced system settings. In the resulting System Properties dialogue box click the Settings button in the Performance box. In the next box uncheck some of the options or select Adjust for best performance.
When your PC fires up some programmes will automatically start, slowing down performance. Usually, there is a number that aren’t required immediately and therefore can be prevented from autoloading.
To check which programmes are autoloading, right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager. Click the Startup tab. This will show you all the autoloading programmes. Just right-click any you don’t need on the Startup tab and select Disable.
Bin the tips
Windows 10 likes to helpful and loves to provide you with tips on how you can better use it. The problem is, to get this information, it’s keeping a beady eye on how you’re using your PC, which slows it down.
To turn this feature off click Start > Settings > System > Notifications & actions. At the bottom of the Notifications section, turn of Get tips, tricks and suggestions as you use Windows.
It’s so frustrating when your Windows 10 PC starts to slow down.
We’ve all been there; trundling along quite nicely and then, before we realise it, every thing starts to take that little bit longer.
You could reach into your pockets to buy more RAM, but we think these nine tips from PCWorld blogger, Lincoln Spector, are worth a try first.
1. Give it the reboot
If your PC is behaving horribly slow, try rebooting. Yes, it’s an obvious solution, but people tend to forget the obvious.
The sleep or hibernate setting will save power, but only a full reboot clears out the cobwebs in Windows’ brain and gives it a fresh start. Do it every day if the PC is really slow.
2. Turn on High Performance
Windows assumes that you want an energy-efficient computer. But you can trade electricity for speed. Use this tip only if you’re willing to increase your electric bill and decrease your battery performance.
Right-click the Start button and in the resulting menu, select Power Options.
In the resulting Control Panel window, pull down the Show additional plans option. Select High performance.
Some low-end PCs, including my Miix 310, don’t have those options.
3. Undo some appearance options
Windows works hard to make the screen easy on the eyes. If your PC is underpowered, you may want to sacrifice aesthetics and gain some speed.
Right-click Start, and select System. In the resulting Control Panel window’s left pane, select Advanced system settings.
This brings up the System Properties dialog box, already on the Advanced tab. Click the Settings button in the Performance box (the first of three “Settings” buttons on this tab).
This brings up another dialog box. You can uncheck some of the options, or simply select Adjust for best performance.
4. Remove unneeded autoloaders
A whole lot of programs want to load automatically every time you boot. Each one slows down the boot process, and some continue to slow down Windows afterwards.
These are not all bad. Your antivirus program should load when you boot and keep running as long as your PC is on. Other programs that need to run in the background to work, such as OneDrive, should also autoload.
But some programs—even good ones that you use frequently—don’t really need to run all the time. You don’t want to uninstall those, but you may want to stop them from autoloading.
To see how bad the situation is, right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager. Click the Startup tab. (If you don’t see any tabs at the top of the window, click More details in the lower-left corner.)
The Startup tab will show you all the autoloading programs. As you examine the list, think about what programs don’t really need to keep running at all times. To stop one from loading automatically, right-click its entry on the Startup tab and select Disable.
If you don’t recognize the name of an autoloader, right-click it and select Search online to help you find more information.
5. Stop hog processes
Your computer may be running a poorly written process that’s hogging a lot of resources. To find out, right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager. (Once again, if you don’t see any tabs at the top of the window, click More Details.)
On the Processes tab, click the CPU column header to sort by processor usage. The top items will be the ones hogging the CPU. (If the top processes are all using 0%, the processes are sorted in the wrong direction. Click the column header again.)
Don’t assume that the top process is necessarily a hog. Some big applications are worth the CPU cycles. One way to manage these programs is to close them when you’re done with them. Another is to switch to a smaller program.
You can close a process from inside Task Manager. Select the process and click the End task button and confirm your decision. But this should be avoided.
When you’re done, click the Memory column header and repeat.
6. Turn off search indexing
When you search for a word across all the files in your Documents library, the results come up almost immediately. That’s wonderful, but it comes at a price. When you’re not searching, the indexing needed to create those fast searches slows you down.
To turn off all indexing:
1. Open Windows Explorer, right-click your C: drive, and select Properties.
2. On the General tab, uncheck Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties.
3. In the resulting warning box, select Apply changes to drive C:\, subfolders and files.
Windows may take some time turning off the indexing. Get up and take a walk; it’s good for you.
There’s another option that will let you turn off some indexing but not all of it:
Type indexing in the Cortana field. Select Indexing Options. Click the Modify button near the lower-left side of the resulting dialog box.
This brings up another dialog box, with two sections. And yes, it’s confusing. Start in the bottom section of the dialog box, Summary of selected locations. Click any of these options, and it changes the contents of the top section, Change selected locations.
Unchecking items in that top section will stop indexing in those specific locations.
7. Turn off Windows tips
Windows 10 occasionally gives you tips about how you can better use the operating system. The problem is that, in order to see what tips you need, it keeps an eye on how you’re using your PC.
Yes, that sounds worrying from a privacy issue, but it also slows down your PC.
To turn it off, click Start > Settings. Select System, then select Notifications & actions in the left pane.
At the bottom of the Notifications section, turn off Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows.
You might also want to explore the other notification options, and turn some of them off, as well. I don’t think any of the others slow down the PC, but they can get annoying.
8. Clean your internal drive
If your internal storage is almost full—whether it’s a hard drive or an SSD—that could be slowing you down. But if your drive has plenty of free room, skip this section.
Start with Windows’ own Disk Cleanup tool. In the Cortana field, type disk and select Disk Cleanup.
Wait while Disk Cleanup examines your drive. Click the Clean up system files button (this time you’ll need an administrator password). Then wait again for another examination.
Examine the options. If you find one called Previous Windows installation(s), you’re in luck. By checking it and clicking OK, you’ll free up a lot of space. You can check other items to get rid of them, as well.
Something else you might want to consider: Uninstall programs you no longer use.
9. Check for Malware
I doubt an infection is intentionally slowing down your PC. There’s no illegal profits from that. Plus it’s a sure-fire way to trigger a victim’s suspicions.
But some malicious code could be slowing down your PC, even if that wasn’t the criminal’s intention. So if you’re suspicious, read Eric Geier and Josh Norem’s guide on how to remove malware from your Windows PC.
That’s not something that happens every day, but Microsoft is canny enough to realise its priority has to be keeping its customers happy.
Following user feedback, the software giant has finally taken notice of the complaints that it’s been receiving since Windows 10 made its debut. These are mainly levelled at how the OS grabs control of their PC to install updates and upgrades, usually at inconvenient times.
In a report by Computerworld, Microsoft has announced it will offer customers more options for installing, and delaying, monthly security updates and once to twice a year feature upgrades.
Starting with the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update release, Microsoft will give users notifications once an update or upgrade has been downloaded and offer them the ability to install right away or hit “snooze,” which will postpone the update install for three days.
These new options apply to all Windows 10 editions. Administrators, however, will only be able to push policy-based delays in the Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 10.
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 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 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:
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.
Last year it was estimated that over 14 million people upgraded their computers to Windows. But the way the mass upgrade was handled by Microsoft left the door wide open for attackers.
Those that hadn’t yet upgraded waited patiently for their invite from Microsoft to download their copy.
But attackers jumped on the bandwagon, seeing this as a golden opportunity because Microsoft’s message said:
“Watch for your notification so that you can start your upgrade. Your notification to upgrade could come as soon as a few days or weeks.”
Needless to say what followed was a raft of fake Microsoft 10 installers being emailed to users tricking them into downloading and running a ZIP file.
The email landed in inboxes showing as being sent by “update[at]Microsoft.com” inviting people to upgrade their operating system to Windows 10.
The email looked legit, easily fooling anyone to take the bait:
Attached to the email was a .zip file containing the fake installer. If you were unlucky and clicked on it, the cryptovirus took over your PC and displayed a CTB-Locker ransomware code with a timer counting down to when your files would be irreversibly destroyed, unless of course you paid the ransom. And, unlike some other ransomware, there is no way out of this one.
This post is a warning for future attacks like this one because the chances are, if you did fall prey to this attack it’s too late.
The most important thing to remember to safeguard your important files against this type of attack is to backup.
Solutions, such as MPMIT Vault, will save a lot of heartache because it allows you to backup your files online, ensuring they will be forever safe and sound.
It’s also important to run active anti-virus. Granted, it may not stop every attack, but it will protect you from the vast majority. You can use free anti-virus and whilst good, they do come with limited features so it’s always best to go with a paid version, such as BullGuard.
The only way to stay safe against attackers is to backup and run anti-virus. Although it may not be 100% foolproof, it gives you a fighting chance to keep your files and photos safe.
This shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise, but hackers have latched on to Windows 10.
Let’s face it, considering the number of spoof emails and malware there is floating around the internet these days, the latest from Microsoft’s stables was not going to remain unscathed for long.
Phishing attempts have already been detected.
One of the latest pretends to be a Windows 10 installer, but in fact installs ransomeware instead. The hackers send out emails claiming to be from Microsoft with an email attachment. The claim is that by unzipping the attached file you’ll receive a Windows 10 upgrade.
Of course, that’s not what you get. This particular one originates from Thailand, but you’ll need to be vigilant because the email’s colour scheme is very similar to the Windows 10 update app.
Protecting yourself from the hackers
The growing number of phishing tricks like this one highlights the need for protection.
Here at MPM IT we recommend BullGuard Internet Security because it guards against ransomeware and it features behavioural-based detection so new malware strains are identified and stopped.
But don’t take our word for it. Recently, it was awarded Best Buy status by the UK’s leading consumer champion, Which?
In their own words, BullGuard Internet Security was as impregnable as Fort Knox!
That’s quite an accolade.
Having the right protection and remaining vigilant at all times is the only way to stay safe and out of the clutches of the hackers.
Last year Microsoft unleashed Windows 10, offering it as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users. As a result, it is now the Operating System on more than 110 million devices.
But Microsoft is stepping up its efforts. Starting from this year, it’s re-categorising Windows 10 as a “recommended update” in its Windows Update system. That means the upgrade process will download and start automatically on thousands of machines.
According to Microsoft’s Terry Myerson in a recent interview in The Verge:
“A user will be presented with a choice to install Windows 10. They’ll come back to their PC and there will be a dialog where they can choose to upgrade to Windows 10 or not.”
It’s worth noting however, that you’ll only see this dialogue box once. Windows 10 will automatically download and start the upgrade process, depending on your Windows Update settings, but you can opt out and not receive nagging prompts to update. Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users on a metered connection will have to turn off automatic updates to prevent the installer from downloading automatically.
Easing the path from piracy to genuine user of Windows 10
Microsoft is also making changes designed to entice software pirates to upgrade. According to Myerson:
“If you try and upgrade a non-genuine PC to Windows 10 today it says the free upgrade is only available to genuine PCs. We’re seeing people be creative to get around that block, and then many are actually going to the Windows Store and buying a genuine license.”
To make it easier for non-genuine Windows users to get genuine, the company is planning to run an experiment in the US to get software pirates on board. It will offer a one-click opportunity to get a genuine Windows license from the Windows Store, but it won’t be a free upgrade. Pirates will have to purchase the genuine license and proceed with an upgrade.
This is all part of Microsoft’s master plan to get 1 billion devices running Windows 10 within 2 or 3 years.
Do you value your privacy? Do you think keylogger is an invasion of it?
Yes, so do we, that’s why we’ve put this blog together to help you turn off Microsoft’s keylogger feature.
If you’re not sure what it is, Microsoft explain it like this:
“When you interact with your Windows device by speaking, writing (handwriting), or typing, Microsoft collects speech, inking, and typing information – including information about your Calendar and People (also known as Contacts) – that helps personalise your experience. This information improves your device’s ability to correctly recognise your input, such as your pronunciation and handwriting. You can turn the Speech, inking, and typing setting (which is called Getting to know you) on or off in Setting.”
This is how you switch it off.
Go to Settings, on the Start menu’s left pane, to open the Settings programme. You’ll find Privacy on the bottom row:
Once there, go to the General section and turn off Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future. You might also want to review the other options listed too.
Next stop is the Speech, inking and typing section. Once there click Stop getting to know me.
While there, it’s worth checking out the other options, such as controlling which apps can access your camera, microphone, contacts and calendar.
Microsoft obviously want to improve its service, which is why it includes thinks like keylogger in its operating system, but we think your privacy is far more important.
You can uninstall programmes in Windows 10 from the Start menu or from settings. First up, the Start menu.
If you’ve uninstalled Store apps form the Starts screen in Windows 8.1, you’ll find this process familiar.
Once the Start menu is open, find the programme you want to get rid of in the All apps list, or the live tiles. The right click, select Uninstall from the context menu and follow any uninstall wizards that appear.
Simple – it works for traditional desktop programmes and Store apps.
Managing apps from settings in Windows 10
Before uninstalling you have to wait of the Windows 10 settings app to populate your programmes and app list.
To get started click on Start > Settings > System > Apps & Features.
Once your list is ready it will be automatically sorted by app size. To change this to name, click the Sort by size drop down menu and select Sort by name.
Now all you have to do is scroll down the list and find the programme or app you want to uninstall. Once you click on it you’ll get a pop-up warning that the programme and all its data will be wiped. Hit Uninstall again in the pop-up and the uninstall process will begin.
Alternatively, you can use the Control Panel for uninstalls, but that only works for traditional desktop programmes.