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Posted on Aug 26, 2015 in Newsletter, Welcome | 0 comments

TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 27 – Windows 10 slowly rolls out

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Welcome to the August 2015 TWT Newsletter

Windows 10 has finally landed and is rolling out (slowly) to any home user on Windows 7 or 8 who wants a copy. We’re still super busy finishing off our Windows 10 Superguide so this months newsletter may be a little short, but we’ll still pack in all our regular content for you.

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In this months issue:-

What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com
Windows 10 rolls out slowly, should you upgrade just yet?
Tip of the Month – Ensure your PC is well ventilated
Free Utility of the Month – Pushbullet
Windows Store App of the Month – Cocktail Flow

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

As you might expect, last month we brought you a whole bunch of Windows 10 tutorials, fourteen, no less. We’re sorry if those of you who aren’t planning to upgrade are getting tired of our coverage, but as you can imagine this is a pretty big event in the history of Windows and something that we need to cover in detail.

Master the basics of Windows 10 on desktop and tablet with our free video tutorials

These free Windows 10 video tutorials will get you oriented with the new operating system. While there are many new features, much remains the same and for those of us who have used the Windows desktop before, the transition to Windows 10 should be relatively painless, especially now that you have our video tutorials to help. Click here to see the full list of tutorials.

pictureWindows 10 rolls out slowly, should you upgrade just yet?

Windows 10 officially released on the 29th July 2015. As you’re no doubt aware by now, any home users running Windows 7 or 8 can upgrade to Windows 10 for free. If you’re eligible, you should have seen a little Windows icon appear in your notification area. If you click this icon you may be able to start the upgrade process, but for many users it’s simply a case of watching and waiting, as Windows will apparently notify you when your upgrade is ready to install. A number of workarounds have been suggested online that should allow you to jump the queue, but nothing we’ve tried so far has been successful.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to upgrade, should you do so just yet, or hold off for now? We’ve spent a lot of time with the pre-release builds of Windows 10 and found the new OS to be slick, stable and full of potential, but still with the occasional bug. Indeed, the July release date caught many folks off-guard (including ourselves!) as we all assumed that Microsoft would require more time to polish the OS. Of course, no software with the size and complexity of Windows 10 is going to be bug-free and most users will enjoy an easy, hassle free upgrade. That’s not to say things can’t go wrong. A small number of users have been left with an unusable computer due to a failed upgrade, with their computers simply telling them that they have a “Missing operating system”. One Windows 7 system we tested here failed during the update process and simply rebooted back into Windows 7, while a Dell tablet we’re using seems to be suffering periodic reboots, though we’re not sure if that’s Windows 10 related or not.

If you’re planning on upgrading your systems to Windows 10, here are some tips we recommend that you follow.

Create a full backup of your computers system drive – There’s one way you can make sure to protect yourself from any kind of disaster and that is to have a complete backup of your computers hard drive. The bad news is that this may mean that you need to buy a suitably large external drive to hold the backup. The good news is that software that can create a complete backup or system image can be downloaded entirely for free. Macrium Relfect is one such free program that can image your computers hard drive. Check out our tutorials on the excellent Macrium Reflect software here.

Create and test rescue media – If you have no operating system or your new Windows 10 won’t start, how can you restore your backup? Easy, simply have a recovery drive on standby. Software like Macrium Reflect lets you create a USB disc that can boot or run even when your usual Windows OS won’t start. From this special, minimal operating system you can restore your backup. Don’t forget to test your rescue media after you create it too, sometimes reconfiguring your computer to start from a different storage device can be complicated. Consult an IT professional if you have any difficulties. Check out our tutorial on Macrium Reflect rescue media here.

Check your manufacturers website for driver upgrades – Before you go ahead and upgrade your computer, it might be worth checking your manufacturers website for any updates, notes or other information. If you’re advised to hold of on upgrading for the time being, you should probably wait a few weeks for the manufacturers to iron out all the kinks.

Have access to a spare PC if possible – If you find that your upgrade fails, you will want to access the internet to visit help forums and related sites. You should make sure you have access to a spare PC, or at least an internet connected device like a smartphone or tablet. A PC is best since you may need to download software and configure USB devices etc.

Expect the best, but plan for the worst – Remember, the vast majority of users will have a smooth upgrade experience. Of those that do encounter issues, only a small number will end up with a PC they cannot start. If you’re not very technically minded and feel a little intimidated after reading all of the above, please don’t be put off from getting your free Windows 10 upgrade. Even if you can’t follow our tips above, make sure you have a contingency plan. Perhaps you have a relative who’s experienced with IT, or know a computer repair shop you can rely on if something goes wrong. As long as you have that peace of mind that someone can solve any issues you encounter, there’s no reason to hold off on upgrading.

Tip of the Month – Ensure your PC is well ventilated

It’s such a simple and logical thing, but many users overlook it. Modern PCs 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 casing in order to prevent overheating.

In spite of this, many users still put their PCs in tiny, cramped cupboards or alcoves. Laptop users leave their machines on carpets or bedspreads. During the summer months, temperatures can of course go up significantly and if your computer gets too hot, it can crash, randomly reboot or even stop working permanently. To avoid issues, follow these tips.

For traditional PCs, place the tower or desktop unit on your desk or under your desk with plenty of room at the back and top for the heat to dissipate.

Laptop and tablet users should 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. Try not to use your device on a carpet, blanket, duvet or other soft furnishings. If you like to use your laptop on your lap, you might want to consider buying a dedicated laptop tray that can also aid with cooling your device as you use it.

Finally, if you are a smoker, don’t smoke around your PC. Smoking is bad for the health of your computer too and tobacco smoke will clog the insides of your PC, preventing the computers cooling fans from working and possibly causing a short-circuit on the motherboard.

Free Utility of the Month – Pushbullet

Back in issue 24 we lamented how difficult it was to share data between devices, such as PCs and smartphones. Had we known about this months free utility back then, we would have definitely mentioned it in that article. Pushbullet is a free app for Windows, Mac, Linux (via a 3rd party extension app) as well as iOS, Android and Windows Phone (again via a 3rd party developed app). Pushbullet allows you to push simple messages or even files between your devices. Found a link on your phone you want to see on the big screen? No problem, use the Pushbullet app on your phone to send it directly to your desktop browser. Want to type a SMS message on your PC rather than fiddling with your phones on-screen keyboard? Easy, just type the message into Pushbullet on your desktop and push it directly to your phone where it’s just a matter of pasting it into whatever app you need. You can even add friends to your Pushbullet account, for instance you could add other members of your family so that they can easily push links or files to you.

Find out more about Pushbullet and download your free copy by clicking here.

Windows Store App of the Month – Cocktail Flow

Planning on throwing house parties or barbecues this summer? Impress your friends with your new-found drink making skills by whipping them up a refreshing cocktail. With this cool app, you can transform your Windows 8 or 10 PC or tablet into a complete A to Z of cocktail concoctions. With a selection of hot and cold beverages and a range of non-alcoholic cocktails too, make sure your drinks cabinet is well stocked and be careful not to splash your Windows tablet while you’re concocting your next masterpiece.

Download Cocktail Flow from the Windows store here.

That concludes our newsletter for August. 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 September 2015 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, 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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