TWT Newsletter, Issue#053 -Windows 8 news coming thick and fast!
Welcome to our October 2011 TWT Newsletter. After an unusually sunny September here in the UK we’re back in your inbox once again to bring you some great new updates on Windows 8 and of course our regular features too.
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) New Windows 8 news coming thick and fast!
3) Tip of the Month – Send big files across the internet using Dropbox
4) Free Utility of the Month – Tagscanner
5) End of the road for Zune, but Windows Phone 8 goes from strength to strength
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
In September we spent a lot of time testing and overhauling the video content on the site. We’re now using a streaming video server backed by Amazon’s Cloudfront distribution network. This should greatly improve the reliability of the videos, especially when seeking back and forth or pausing and restarting a video presentation. All our videos are now converted to use this new system.
We still had time in September to bring you a few new tutorials too. Firstly, we brought you a tutorial on Safe Mode. This special diagnostic mode can be used to help troubleshoot your computer. Safe Mode runs the bare minimum of programs, services and libraries, allowing you to disable startup applications that may be causing your computer to crash for instance. Find out more about Safe Mode by visiting this link.
Secondly, we uploaded two tutorials for the Growl notification system. With Growl, you can change the look and feel of notifications for many of your favorite programs. What’s more, you can send notifications across your network or even across the internet to a smart phone! To learn more, see our first Growl tutorial here.
We’ll be looking into Growl some more in October and have several other tutorials planned too, so keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter or RSS feeds!.
Windows 8 news coming thick and fast!
The new Windows 8 news keeps coming thick and fast. Two great new features that Microsoft recently unveiled are Windows 8 Refresh and Reset. Some of our most popular tutorials are the tutorials on how to reinstall Windows. Many users will eventually encounter a situation where they want to reset their computer back to a factory fresh state. Perhaps a malicious program has corrupted the system, or perhaps it’s just time to sell or donate a computer to a friend or relative. The process of reinstalling or repairing Windows is tedious and complicated, but in Windows 8 this will all be done by the click of a single button.
Another interesting feature is the facility to run Windows 8 entirely from a USB device. This has been implemented to allow corporations to support “hot desking”, allowing users to simply plug their USB device into any PC and continue working on their own desktop. Combined with Bitlocker encryption this can give businesses a secure way to allow hot desking without compromising security. It’s unlikely that this feature will be in the home editions of Windows 8 however.
Watch our Windows 8 developer preview video now
Last month, Microsoft released a developer preview of Windows 8. This preview is now available here for anyone curious enough to install it. This is an early version of the operating system and all the features here are subject to change. Nevertheless, it gives an exciting glimpse at some of the changes Microsoft has planned. Rather than bring you another long update here in the newsletter, we decided to do things a little differently this month. So that you can see the new features for yourself, we decided to make a short presentation of the new operating system. The video will show you the interesting new Metro interface and share our thoughts on how things will work in the final version. Check out the video now on Youtube by visiting this link.
Tip of the Month – Send big files across the internet using Dropbox
So many of us have broadband internet these days. There are so many great things we can do with our connections, from streaming live video on Youtube or Netflix/Lovefilm to live videophone conversations with Skype or Windows Live Messenger.
It’s strange though, that there aren’t easier ways to share larger files. Attaching files to e-mails is slow and severely limited by the size of the file you can send. Often sending files by instant messenger is painfully slow too. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easier way? Fortunately, there is.
Dropbox is a great online service that provides you with a 2gb folder on your computer that is automatically synchronized across the internet, meaning anywhere you have an internet connection you can access your files.
Want to share documents with your friends? No problem! Even if they don’t have a Dropbox account, you can send a public link that will work on any internet connected computer. Dropbox can be configured in seconds and works on Windows, Linux and Apple Mac machines. For more information or to sign up for your own account, visit this link.
Free Utility of the Month – Tagscanner
If you have a large number of MP3 or other audio files on your computer, you may want to alter or edit the tags that go along with them. Tags are stored inside your music files and tell you or your MP3 player useful information such as track number, artist and album. Music that you legally download or rip from your own CD collection might not always have this information, so a tool that can make manually adding it as quick as possible can be very useful.
Tagscanner is the most powerful free music tagging utility we have encountered. Although the program does have a learning curve, once mastered you will be able to edit and tweak the tags on your music very quickly. Check out TagScanner by visiting this link.
Zune to struggle on, while Windows Phone 8 goes from strength to strength
In other Microsoft related news, it’s potentially bad news for anyone who invested in one of Microsoft’s slick Zune Mp3 players. Zune hardware is now officially discontinued, though the Zune video services such as those available on Xbox 360 will continue. At least, that seemed to be the case. As we were finishing up the newsletter, Microsoft released another statement that read “We are still supporting the Zune HD hardware, No official info has been released stating hardware is being discontinued.” Strange, since a statement on Microsoft’s own website to the contrary was what prompted us to run this story initially. Despite being excellent media players and receiving good reviews, the Zune players always lived in the shadows of the more successful Apple iPod. It’s likely that Zune services and features will live on in some way in Windows Phone 7 devices even if the Zune player range itself does get discontinued.
Windows Phone 7, Microsoft’s newest version of their operating system for consumer mobile devices, received a major new update last month. Windows Phone 7 “Mango” is now released to consumers everywhere, with new improved handsets also launching in the near future. More astute observers have noted that the interface on a Windows Phone 7 device is very similar to the new Metro user interface in Windows 8.
Windows Phone 7 Mango has received very positive reviews and offers several distinct advantages over the iPhone, including integrated Facebook and Windows Live messaging and a people hub, that gives an integrated view of all your contacts (whether they come from Facebook, Windows Live, Gmail, or Yahoo!). If you want to learn more about Windows Phone 7, visit this link. There’s no reason why Microsoft couldn’t make a Windows Phone device into a pure music player (like the iPod is to the iPhone) but there’s no hint of this coming from Microsoft at the moment.
That rounds off our newsletter for October. 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 November 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, and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing this autumn!