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Posted on Jan 3, 2017 in Newsletter, Welcome | 0 comments

TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 43 – Christmas gift ideas and a look ahead at 2017

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TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 43

Welcome to the December 2016 TWT Newsletter

Seasons greetings! Wow, that sure came around fast again. As we all gear up for the festive gift-giving season once more, take some time out to read your latest TWT newsletter for your regular dose of jargon free Windows news and tips. It’s just what you always wanted!

Important! A number of our subscribers have had difficulty receiving our newsletter. At Top-Windows-Tutorials.com we never send out unsolicited e-mails. To make sure your TWT newsletter reaches your inbox, please add topwindo@top-windows-tutorials.com to your contacts, buddy list or white list.

In this months issue:-

Christmas gifts for the Windows user
Tip of the Month – Try some advanced disk checking
Free Utility of the Month – Daemon Tools
Windows Store App of the Month – Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta
2017 – What can we look forward to?

Christmas gifts for the Windows user

It’s that time of year again when we all start to stress over the perfect gift for our loved ones. If your friends and family happen to be Windows users however, we might actually have some useful suggestions. Check out our run-down of the hottest Christmas gifts for the Windows user this year.

Games

The PC has the best selection of games anywhere, far better than can be found on any games console. Finding just a handful of games among the selection is a real challenge, but here are three titles that should appeal to a broad audience for you to consider.

Obduction – If you prefer your videogames to be a little more cerebral rather than all guns blazing then this new adventure game may be right up your street. Created by the designers of the original classic puzzle solving adventure Myst, Obduction will transport you across the universe to mysterious alien planets. By solving puzzles and riddles you will reveal the secrets of these alien worlds and progress through the game.

The Turing Test – In this game you take on the role of Ava Turing, an International Space Agency (ISA) engineer working at a research station located on one of Jupiter’s moons. The game is a puzzle solving game, where you will need to use power spheres to unlock doors or activate other machinery in the game. Turing Test is one of those games that you may buy for a teenager but end up being drawn into yourself, while helping to solve the puzzles.

Titanfall 2 – Titanfall 2 gets our pick for the hardcore gamer this year. A science fiction themed first person shooter where you control a futuristic soldier who can fight on foot or jump aboard a giant, mechanical suit of armour called a titan. Unlike the first game, Titanfall 2 features a full single player campaign as well as multiplayer modes, meaning gamers of all skill levels and preferences are catered for this time.

Apps

WindowBlinds – We covered WindowBlinds in our last newsletter. This cool little app lets you completely change the look and feel of your Windows operating system. Everything from windows, to the taskbar to the Start menu can be customised with colours, textures and other refinements.

It’s an app none of us need, but a lot of us would really want, so an ideal Christmas gift. WindowBlinds is available exclusively as a digital download from Stardock.com

Arq Backup and Amazon CloudDrive – Give someone the gift of a full backup solution this Christmas! Okay, so it might not be as exciting as a new game or a new gadget, but it’s super useful. With Amazon CloudDrive, you can get unlimited storage for just $59.99 or £55 per year. With Arq backup, you get a convenient, time machine style backup program that can save to Amazon CloudDrive. No more worrying about buying external hard drives or running out of space!

Hardware

LG 34UC79G monitor – Even if you’re running a laptop, you can be more productive by connecting your PC to a big screen monitor, giving you lots of space to work or play. This monster screen from LG will delight any gamer or power user

Corsair Strafe Keyboard If, like me, you spend a lot of time at your PC entering text, then a good keyboard is essential. Laptop keyboards in particular can be quite spongy and slow down your typing speed. With the Corsair Strafe keyboard, you get a fully mechanical, back lit keyboard that makes a satisfying clack each time a key is struck.

Logitech G Pro Gaming FPS Mouse – If you’re looking for a decent replacement mouse that’s suitable for gaming, 3D modelling or other demanding activities the Logitech G Pro ticks all the boxes without breaking the bank. If the user you’re buying for is not quite so demanding of their electronic rodent, Logitech’s venerable B110 Mouse can be obtained for under £15/$15 and is an excellent, reliable wired mouse.

Whatever Santa brings you this year, we hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and a prosperous and enjoyable 2017!

Tip of the Month – Try some advanced disk checking

Computer hard drives are the most common points of failure on modern PCs. Even as we move toward solid state storage, eventual wear and tear will take its toll on your PC and cause the storage device to fail. Unfortunately, it’s not really possible to tell when that will happen. Although it’s more likely to happen on a older hard drive, it can happen to a brand new drive too! Here at TWT HQ we recently had a hard drive fail that was just two months old!

If you suspect a drive may be misbehaving, either because your computer randomly crashes or files seem to be corrupted, you can do a thorough scan of the drive using the Check Disk (chkdsk) tool. We cover how to do that in the video tutorial here.

What we didn’t mention in that video is that there is a way to do an even more in-depth scan. The video will show you how to check your C: drive by entering “chkdsk c: /f”. However, if you enter “chkdsk c: /R, Windows will attempt to locate any bad sectors on the drive and recover information if possible. Keep in mind this can take a considerable amount of time, several hours for bigger drives.

Of course, no amount of disk checking is a substitute for a proper backup, so make sure you always have a backup copy of your files.

Free Utility of the Month – Daemon Tools Lite

Daemon Tools is a special piece of software that acts like a virtual DVD drive. Using the programs system tray icon you can ‘mount’ a CD/DVD image (ISO image or most other kinds) and use it as if it was a real CD or DVD disc. This means you can explore and test the contents of a disc without having to use a real recordable CD or DVD first. Using any PC with an optical drive, you can make an image of your older PC software titles then use this image with Daemon Tools to install the software on any PC. Very useful for accessing such software on more modern PCs that may not have optical drives.

Although Windows 10 includes some of this functionality built into the operating system, Daemon Tools supports a much wider range of CD/DVD image formats and includes lots of great advanced features too. Check it out by visiting the homepage here.

Windows Store App of the Month – Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta

The PC version of Minecraft has always been the definitive version as far as features and expandability were concerned. With support for things like mods, custom servers and near limitless areas for you to explore and mine, the PC build goes beyond what’s possible on the console versions of Minecraft.

That’s great of course, but what if you just want to sit down and play with your controller, without all that complicated stuff getting in the way? Well, Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition is built more like the console versions of the game, with native game controller support, Xbox Live achievements and easy access to Realms, persistent online worlds that you can explore with your friends.

While we’d still recommend the standard PC version, the Windows 10 edition of the game is great if you just want to let your kids loose on this super popular game without worrying about more complex game features and configurations.

Grab your copy of Minecraft: Windows 10 edition from the store here. If you already have a copy of the standard PC edition, it’s free!

2017 – What can we look forward to?

With 2016 drawing to a close, it’s time to take a sneak peek at some of the Windows and Windows related gadgets and gizmos we can look forward to in 2017. Here’s a little round-up of some of the exciting events and products you can expect in the new year.

January means CES – The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) takes place every January. As usual, we’ll bring coverage of the most relevant Windows news in jargon free format in our next newsletter. There’s likely to be the usual mix of crazy, useful, useless and genuinely surprising products.

Windows 10 Superguide Anniversary Update – No, we haven’t forgotten about this! Unfortunately due to other commitments we’re still a little behind with the Windows 10 Superguide anniversary update. We’ll be working on it extensively through December though, so we promise it won’t be too much longer. As confirmed before, this will be a free update.

Windows 10 Creator update – Coming sometime in “early” 2017, we took a detailed look at what to expect in this latest Windows 10 update in our previous newsletter.

Surface Phone – We’ve talked about Surface Phone rumours before. While nothing concrete has come out of Redmond, the rumours refuse to die. If the phone does come out, it’s likely to have some significant competition from the new iPhone 8, with it’s fancy new all glass design.

New Surface Pro and Surface Book – There was no new update for the Surface Pro announced at Microsoft’s recent press conference. Usually Microsoft brings out a new model every year, so it seems pretty likely that there will be a new one in 2017. Microsoft’s first-ever laptop, the Surface Book, should be due for an update in 2017, too.

Xbox Scorpio and Nintendo Switch – Microsoft are planning a new, more powerful version of their Xbox One games console. Xbox project Scorpio will bring 4K visuals to console gamers, while raising the bar for PC games too. Also in 2017, Nintendo are releasing their new console, the portable Nintendo Switch, which is seen by many as a successor to both the Nintendo Wii-U and the Nintendo DS.

All in all, it looks like there’s a lot of potential new products for Santa to stuff down the chimney come Christmas 2017!

That concludes our newsletter for December and marks our last newsletter for 2016. On behalf of the team here at TWT, I’d like to say thank you to all our readers, new and old for your continued support. If you’re celebrating Christmas we hope you have a great time and that Santa brings you all the tech and Windows 10 toys you asked for. We’ll see you again on the 10th January 2017 for more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10. We hope that you found this newsletter informative and useful. If you did not then please let us know why, you can contact us by visiting this page. If you have enjoyed this newsletter, feel free to pass it on to all your friends and family, or better still encourage them to sign up for their own copy. Until next month, keep checking Top-Windows-Tutorials.com and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!

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