TWT Newsletter, Issue #049 – Summer fun and Windows 8 updates
Welcome to another edition of the TWT Newsletter. Summertime is here again but that doesn’t mean there’s no time to enjoy your Windows PC, especially with the summer weather we get here in the UK!
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) Creating and sharing your summer memories with your PC
3) Tip of the Month – Ensure your PC is well ventilated
4) Free Utility of the Month – Konboot
5) Windows 8 news round-up
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
In May, we brought you two new computer maintenance tutorials. If you ever wanted to perform a repair installation on Windows Vista or Windows 7, you may not have been aware that the option was hidden under “Upgrade Installation”. All is now revealed in our tutorials. Windows Vista users who want to perform a repair installation should see this tutorial. While Windows 7 users should see this tutorial.
We also updated our Vista and Windows 7 network tweaking and troubleshooting guide. We corrected several errors and omissions in the guide and updated it with some of the test results from our own machines. You can read this guide by clicking this link.
Creating and sharing your summer memories with your PC
Summertime should be here by now, at least for some of our readers. Now that our computers are the centre of our digital lives, our PC’s have an important part to play in planning our summers. From checking and booking holidays on the internet to staying in touch with distant relatives, your Windows PC can do it all and with ease! This month we’ve chosen our favourite websites and programs to help you get more from your summer fun, so let the sunshine in and brighten up those rainy days with these picks.
Chatting and communicating – If you’re going to enjoy summer, you will need to stay in touch with your friends. Of course many of us use social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, but that’s not the only way you can stay in touch. Have you tried these fantastic applications too?
Trillian – E-mail and Facebook are useful, but sometimes the best way to chat is via instant message. Rather than clutter your desktop with several programs, one for Windows Live, one for Facebook chat, use one smoothly integrated program that handles it all. Trillian Astra has just been updated and is definitely worth a look, the program comes in free (ads supported) and paid versions, see this link for more information.
Seesmic Desktop – Seesmic brings the power of Twitter and Facebook to a small, fast and compact app that can help you keep in touch more efficiently. Read and post both Tweets and Facebook posts without having to log in on the web. See this link to learn more.
Editing photos – In these days of digital cameras, we all like to take hundreds of snaps. Of course, we can share the better photos on the internet, but what about organising and editing them? There are lots of programs, but the two we chose for this article are:-
Paint.net – An amazingly powerful graphics package that includes tools that were only available in expensive, professional level software before, and all for free. See this link to find out more.
Windows Live Photo Gallery – Organise your photos and perform basic image editing tasks with this fun application, see this link for more information.
Sharing photographs – Photographs can be shared on Facebook, but not everyone has a Facebook account or even wants one. For photo sharing that can be accessed by anyone anywhere, check out the following two sites:-
Flickr – This photo-sharing service is run by Yahoo and offers lots of free storage space for your snaps. Your photos can be made public or private and shared on Facebook, forums or in e-mail. Visit the Flickr homepage to find out more.
Photobucket – Another free photo-sharing service that offers lots of free space and sharing options. Visit Photobucket by clicking this link.
Editing video – Now more of us have video cameras, more of us want simple video editing software, fortunately there are several products available:-
Windows Live Movie Maker Still a firm favourite with home video enthusiasts, this video editing program is free and easy to use and ideal for those home movies. See this link for more information.
Cyberlink PowerDirector – For those of you who need more power and flexibility in your editing software, this excellent affordable commercial alternative is highly recommended. See this link for more information.
Sharing Video – Again, video can be shared directly on Facebook, but if you want to share movies with people who don’t have Facebook too, there are several alternatives:-
Youtube – Does Youtube really need an introduction? By far the most popular video sharing site on the web, Youtube can be used to store your family video clips and share them anywhere. You can even make video clips private and invite only selected contacts to view them, though your friends/family will need their own Youtube account to do this. Vist Youtube by clicking this link.
Viddler – A powerful alternative to Youtube that offers personal and corporate accounts, see this link for more information.
We hope that these suggestions have inspired you to use your PC in lots of creative ways over the summer. Don’t forget, if you have any more suggestions for how to make the most of your PC and the internet, or just want to get in touch with us, the best way is to use our forums, see this link for more information.
Tip of the Month – Ensure your PC is well ventilated
It’s such a simple and logical thing, but many users overlook it. Modern PC’s produce heat, lots of heat. Modern processors and graphics cards do an incredible amount of work in the blink of an eye. All that work produces more and more heat that must be pushed out of the computers case in order to prevent overheating.
In spite of this, many users still put their PC’s in tiny, cramped cupboards or alcoves. With the summer fast approaching, temperatures are set to go up and if your computer gets too hot, it can crash, randomly reboot or even stop working permanently. Place your PC on your desk or under your desk with plenty of room at the back and top for the heat to dissipate. Laptop users should also be careful not to block the vents at the rear of their machines. Giving the fans on your PC a dust, as per the manufacturers instructions, is also recommended. For laptops, compressed air can often be used to squirt into the vents and dislodge dust. Finally, if you are a smoker, don’t smoke around your PC. Smoking is bad for the health of your computer too and cigarette smoke will clog the insides of your PC, preventing the computers cooling fans from working and possibly causing a short-circuit on the motherboard too.
Free Utility of the Month – Konboot
Something a little different for you on our free utility this month. If you have ever lost your Windows password, then Konboot might be just the tool you need. By using some clever computer memory manipulation, Konboot makes it possible to log into a Windows or Linux computer without needing a password. Any existing passwords can then be disabled and reset.
Obviously this tool is very useful for absent minded family members, but it also highlights how insecure Windows passwords are. If someone has physical access to your computer then its really only a matter of time before they can gain access to your files too, unless you use software like Truecrypt.
You can find out more about KonBoot by visiting this page.
Windows 8 news round-up
May saw some dramatic developments in the Windows 8 Saga, Microsoft have officially previewed the new Operating System at the D9 conference. On the surface, Windows 8 looks dramatically different from Windows 7 and looks firmly poised to take Windows back onto tablet PC’s in style.
Sporting an interface that looks not too dissimilar from the new Windows Phone 7, the elegant touch screen controls go way beyond the Tablet PC support offered in Windows 7. With slick looking internet content, a new and improved on-screen keyboard and built-in social networking features, Windows 8 tablets could be the must-have gadget of next year. What’s more, several of the preview screenshots showed traditional Windows software running side by side with the new interface. Imagine, a fully featured tablet that could also run all your existing Windows 7 programs too!
Wall Street Journal reporter Ina Fried was one of the first lucky individuals to get a peek at Windows 8. In her article, she writes: “Windows 8 essentially supports two kinds of applications. One is the classic Windows application, which runs in a desktop very similar to the Windows 7 desktop, The other type of application looks more like a mobile application, filling the full screen. Internet Explorer 10, which is part of Windows 8, has already been configured to run in this mode, as have several widget-like apps for checking stock prices and weather.” This could potentially catapult Windows 8 PC’s not only onto tablets, but into the living room too. Imagine all that content controlled by your remote control, all on your big screen TV, very exciting times for technology fans.
Of course, there are drawbacks to this approach, some technology journalists questioned the wisdom of creating a “one size fits all” approach to the tablet and PC market. Although being able to run the entire Windows software catalogue on any device is desirable, Tablets tend to be smaller and lighter than a typical PC and therefore have less processing power. However, for enterprise at least this approach makes a huge amount of sense, and of course, processors and portable devices are rapidly becoming as powerful as low-end PCs anyway. If you’re still settling into Windows 7, don’t worry, Windows 7 is not going anywhere soon. For desktops and laptops, Windows 8 will bring other improvements but Windows 7 will continue to function perfectly well.
Everyone’s excited about the new touch interface, but what other new features is the OS going to have? Since our first article on Windows 8 in newsletter 47 , we’ve seen evidence of a built-in app-store, improvements to boot times, automatic maintenance and performance tweaking tools and an ISO mounting tool that allows CD images to be read without the need for third party tools.
Of course, we’ll keep you posted on any developments we hear regarding Windows 8. Hopefully we will be able to obtain a beta copy later in the year or early next year to give you a full report of the new features.
That rounds off our newsletter for June. We’d like to take this opportunity once again to send a huge thank you to all our readers for your support. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th July 2011 and will bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7! 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 or by leaving us feedback in our forum. 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, have a great summer and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!