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Posted on Aug 4, 2014 in Newsletter, Welcome | 0 comments

TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 14 – Bad PC habits and Surface 3 launches

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Top Windows Tutorials
TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 14

We’re enjoying a rare spot of good weather here at the TWT HQ in the UK, but don’t worry, we’re still at our computers ready to bring you new tutorials and of course your monthly TWT newsletter. This month we’re talking about bad habits. We don’t mean the kind that would embarrass you in front of your girlfriend’s mother, but the kind that you might have gotten into when using your PC. We’ll also have our regular tips and free utilities too.

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:-

What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com
Remote Support service now launched – Get one-on-one computer help!
This month only, buy Windows 7 Superguide, get Superguide 2 free
Bad computing habits – Are you guilty of any of these?
Tip of the Month – Back up your USB sticks!
Free Utility of the Month – Pidgin
Windows Store App of the Month – Adobe Photoshop Express
Surface Pro 3 launches – Is this the best tablet ever?

 

What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?

The biggest news this month was the launch of our new remote support service, which we will talk about in the next section. We also updated several of the tutorials in our skinning and theming section. We know many of you are proud of your PCs and love to personalise your Windows desktop, so now you can with the very latest versions of some of Stardock Software’s most powerful Windows skinning and theming utilities.

 

picture WindowFX 5 – Two new tutorials

WindowFX 5 is a super powerful Windows enhancement and skinning utility that can add amazing window animations to your desktop windows. We added two new tutorials for the latest version of the program, view them by clicking here.

 

 

picture Stardock DeskScapes 8 – Two new tutorials

Stardock DeskScapes 8 brings animated desktop backgrounds, also known as ‘dreams’ to Windows 7 and Windows 8 users. We added two new tutorials for the very latest version of this fun little program. You can view them here.

 

 

picture Using the Windows 8 Task Manager

In this video, we show you the Windows 8 Task Manager. This is the tool you use if you ever need to shut down a program that isn’t responding properly. The Task Manager changed significantly in Windows 8 and this tutorial will take you through the new version.

 

picture Tweaking Windows – New section

It’s your PC, so personalise it for you! On this page you will find guides to tweaking and changing Windows to make it work better for you. This page was added during our recent renovations as a place for all those tweaking and optimising guides.

 

 

Remote Support service now launched – Get one-on-one computer help!

At Top-Windows-Tutorials.com we try our best to make our tutorials as simple, concise and user friendly as possible. We understand though, that everyone is different and some users need a little extra help with certain topics. Furthermore, we understand that sometimes when the worst happens and malware or other computer gremlins strike, it can be difficult to know who to turn to.

Thanks to our new remote support service, powered and SSL secured by the IT experts at Citrix, we can now offer all our readers dedicated, one on one technical support and help.

If there’s a particular lesson in your Superguide you’re stuck on, a tutorial you just can’t complete, or an IT problem that you cannot solve yourself, you can now book a remote support session with us. We can then connect to your computer (entirely and only ever with your full permission) and share your desktop. We can then solve common problems and demonstrate and teach Windows techniques or help you complete any of our tutorials. The service is completely secure through Citrix’s GotoAssist service, which is used by IT companies and professionals all around the world to provide remote support.

If you have access to either Skype or Jitsi we can also initiate a voice call, allowing us to narrate to you during the remote support session. If not, communications will take place via a simple text chat system that will appear on your screen.

As we’ve just launched the service, we’re currently in “Beta” mode, that basically means test, so our prices are super low. Currently, you pay just £15 for every half hour! Our prices cannot stay that low for long, so if you need some one on one tuition, book your session now.

Although the service has been running for just a few weeks, we’ve already received some great feedback:-

“Thank you for your help with Remote Support Service. I wouldn’t hesitate if I had trouble again with the computer to get in touch with you, the session was so good and easy to understand.  Like you said I was soon up and running! Thanks once again”. – E.Stone, UK.

At Top-Windows-Tutorials, we have seven years of experience delivering learning and training solutions to end users of all abilities. No other website on the internet has close to our catalogue of tutorials and learning materials. Get that same expertise with a private, one on one lesson and master any Windows related IT problem. Click here if you want to find out more.

 

This month only, buy Windows 7 Superguide, get Superguide 2 free

For one month only we’re slashing the price of our best selling Windows 7 Gigaguide to $20, that’s a whopping 50% off the regular price and the same price you pay for the Windows 7 Superguide. Effectively, if you buy the Windows 7 Superguide this month, you will get the second guide free.

The Windows 7 Gigaguide contains all the content from Windows 7 Superguide and Windows 7 Superguide 2 in one convenient, easily searchable program. This is the definitive guide to Windows 7 that starts at the very beginning and builds into an expert guide to using, securing and deploying Windows 7 for your family.

This isn’t just a great opportunity to buy the guide, but to upgrade too. If you already have the Windows 7 Superguide and were considering buying the second, you can now do so at $20, a saving of $10 on the regular retail price. What’s more, you will get the advantage of having both guides in one convenient program and be able to search conveniently across the two guides too.

This offer will run until the 10th August 2014 so secure your copy now. Please note, this offer applies to the DVD and digital download guides only, it does not apply to the Kindle, Kobo or physical book versions.

 

Bad computing habits – Are you guilty of any of these?

I once visited a client who had a little solar powered calculator attached to his PC monitor. I asked what this was for and he explained it was for when he was shopping online or completing various tax forms. “What’s wrong with the Windows calculator?” I asked. “Windows Calculator?!” he replied. It just goes to show that all of us can get used to doing things our own way, even if that way isn’t the best or most practical. In this article we’ll look at several bad computing habits and explain why, if these apply to you, you might want to consider breaking them.

Bad security habits

Writing down your passwords:- Once upon a time, a famous US shopping channel sold a “password journal”. The idea of this book was that users could write down all their passwords and never forget them again.

Is this really such a bad idea? From a security standpoint it is a bit like the scene in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, where the last dwarf, emerging from the mine, locks the mine door and hangs the key next to it on a hook. Not only does writing your passwords down make it easy for them to be stolen, it’s completely unnecessary.

Worse still, some users write down passwords in word or text documents on their computers. This simply makes it even more convenient for a thief who doesn’t even need to take your password notebook any more!

So what is the correct way if you simply cannot remember all your passwords. Simple, you protect all of your passwords with one big, long, master password. The software which does this is called a password manager, and you can learn about two of the best password managers, Roboform and Lastpass, in our power surfing tutorials section.

Re-using passwords:- Many users, aware that writing down passwords is a bad idea, have taken to simply recycling the same password for every site they use on the internet. This is a bad idea because should one site be hacked, the attacker now has your password to every other site you use. This is potentially quite dangerous if you use the password for somewhere like Facebook, where you may store lots of quite personal information.

The solution to this problem is the same as above, learn to use a password manager. Take half an hour out of your schedule today and get to grips with one of these tools.

Sharing user accounts:- When you’re done using your PC, do you just hand it over to your kids to start playing on? Lots of families do this, then complain at the children when things go wrong. To be fair, children can’t help but be curious, and Windows has had separate user accounts for many years now. Create each family member their own user account and make sure that only you, as the head of the house, have an administrator account. Not only does this make it much harder for your children to tinker with system settings that they should really leave alone, it means each user can have his or her own wallpaper and desktop colour scheme too. No more fighting or falling out over which favourite cartoon character gets to be on the desktop any more! For more details about configuring user accounts, see this tutorial.

Bad Keyboard Habits

Manually re-typing text:- You have text open in your web browser, and you need to send it to a friend in an e-mail. Do you try and manually re-type the text again? Not only is this inaccurate, it’s also a waste of your valuable time. Learn to use the copy and paste facilities, which let you copy a block of text and paste it anywhere else on your PC. Click here for a quick easy tutorial on copy and paste.

Deleting text unnecessarily:- You’re typing a longer e-mail or document and realise you made a mistake several words back. Do you simply hold down the delete key at this point and delete over all the other words you have written since? If so, you can save yourself time by getting to know the cursor keys and the mouse. Pressing the cursor keys (the arrow keys on your keyboard) will move the cursor (the typing prompt) back and forth, so you can move to the part of the document you want to edit and make changes. Furthermore, clicking with the mouse where you want to edit will move the cursor there automatically.

Habits that are bad for the environment

Excessive printing:- When computers first became popular in the office, people predicted that paper would go the way of the dinosaurs. Strangely, the opposite seems to be what actually happened and since printers have gotten faster and faster, people print more and more things they don’t really need. Next time you go to print that e-mail or web page, consider simply sending an electronic copy instead. Save paper and the environment.

Leaving your computer on:- If there’s a bad habit on this list I am guilty of, it is this one. I use my computer every day and leaving it on is just so convenient. With computers that start up in a couple of seconds though, it’s not necessary to leave your PC switched on and doing nothing for hours at a time. Save your work, save energy and power it down.

Do you know any other bad computing habits that you or your friends have fallen into. Let us know on our Facebook or Twitter pages, or in the Forum.

 

Tip of the Month – Back up your USB sticks

Do you use a USB stick drive or pen drive to carry documents to and from work? If so, when was the last time you backed up the files on the device? Not only are USB sticks prone to getting lost or misplaced, they can also randomly fail at any time.

If you need to carry data like this, make sure you make a copy of anything important on your drive every time you use it. Save a copy on your work PC and your home PC, for instance. Alternatively, if your data is not particularly sensitive, consider services like Google Drive or Dropbox. These services store your documents in the cloud, allowing you to access them from any internet connected device.

 

Free Utility of the Month – Pidgin

Instant messaging apps come and go, but few stand the test of time. Pidgin is one of the longest running multi-protocol IM programs, that let you chat to your friends across several different networks, all from the comfort of a single program. The program supports a huge range of protocols and has full, NSA proof security in the form of the OTR plugin (though it requires both you and your friend to have this installed).

Using Pidgin is pretty easy, even more so as we have a comprehensive set of tutorials for the program here. If you need to keep up with friends and family on several different IM networks, check out Pidgin here.

 

Windows store app of the Month – Adobe Photoshop Express

Productivity apps tend to thrive more on the Windows desktop, but that doesn’t mean that tablets are useless for anything more than gaming, web surfing or reading. Adobe Photoshop Express takes the most essential features of its big-brother desktop app and distils them down into a touch friendly application that’s fun to use while relaxing with your tablet device. You can crop, straighten, rotate, edit colour and lighting, all without attaching a keyboard and mouse.

Photoshop Express is completely free to download from the Windows store, find out more here.

 

Surface Pro 3 launches – Is this the best tablet ever?

Windows 8 may come in for some criticism, but it is clear that the market for tablet PCs and for Laptops is converging, at least for some consumers. Microsoft’s Surface line of tablets might not have set the world on fire the way the company hoped, but there’s no denying what powerful and versatile machines they are. Now, the Surface Pro 3 has finally launched, this machine could be the best tablet PC ever produced.

The machine has a range of powerful processors, from an Intel Core i3 right the way up to a super powerful core i7. This kind of performance puts the machine leagues ahead of your typical Android or Apple iPad. Microsoft are marketing the machine as “The tablet that can replace your laptop” and for once they may be right.

The machine also boasts a super high definition 12 inch screen, front and rear facing cameras, a stylus pen (remember those?) and up to 512GB of storage space. There’s also a specially designed type cover that can convert the machine into a fully blown Windows 8 laptop.

Reviews around the web have generally been positive, with most reviewers agreeing that the machine makes an excellent tablet and generally a good laptop replacement, though not necessarily your first choice for a laptop. Sadly, Microsoft neglected to send us a review copy, so we can’t comment on the machine first hand!

Will this new Microsoft Surface propel the company to the forefront of tablet sales? It seems unlikely, due to one factor, price. Sadly, all that power under the hood has to come at a premium. Even the most basic Surface Pro comes at $799, with an additional $129 required in order to purchase the type-cover keyboard. At this price, even the most basic machine is hugely more expensive than even the premium iPad offerings from Apple.

Still, if you can afford to pay the premium, you get a hell of a computing device and one that can stand up to almost any task. As technology improves, this kind of machine will get smaller and more affordable and that’s when the Windows 8 “two operating systems in one” paradigm will start to make more sense.

That concludes our newsletter for July. 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. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th August 2014 and will bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8. 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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