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Posted on May 20, 2016 in Newsletter, Welcome | 0 comments

TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 36 – Social media mistakes, Windows 10 must try harder and more

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TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 36

Welcome to the May 2016 TWT Newsletter

The year continues to zip by and we find ourselves in May already. In this part of the world that means the weather is finally starting to improve, though of course our British weather is notoriously fickle. Whether the weather is keeping you indoors or you’re reading this on your tablet while sunbathing, we hope you enjoy this months newsletter.

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In this months issue:-

What’s new at
Four Social Media Mistakes Many People Make
Tip of the Month – Highlight Your Favourite Folders
Free Utility of the Month – FixWin for Windows 10
Windows Store App of the Month – Metro Commander Pro
Get Windows 10, Even if you want to Keep Windows 7 or 8
Things Microsoft Need to Improve in Windows 10

What’s new at

In April we updated our tutorials for the popular Dropbox service. If you need to send a file, picture or a video, don’t attach it to an e-mail where it can eat into valuable storage space on users phones or e-mail accounts, use a service like Dropbox to send it instead.

We also added a tutorial on changing drive letters in Windows 10. This isn’t something most of you will need to do, but if you’re adding backup drives to your PC, you may encounter a situation where it’s necessary.

picture Changing drive letters on Windows 10 PCs

In this short video tutorial, we show you how you can change or reassign drive letters in Windows 10. It is occasionally necessary to do this if you work with removable drives because any automatic backup you create will expect the drive to be on the same drive letter assignment as last time.

picture Dropbox – 4 Tutorials updated

Updated for 2016 – Our Dropbox tutorials show you everything you need to know to install and use this software. Find out how to add files, share files and folders and much more. See the first tutorial here.

Four Social Media Mistakes Many People Make

Summer is finally on the way for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, that means lots of us will be sharing our memories and connecting with our friends on social media. Your Windows PC works great in tandem with your smartphone to make using social media a breeze. Use your phone to quickly post while you’re out and about, enjoying the sunshine, then use your PC to view your pictures on the big screen, save them or edit them.

Using social media isn’t hard, but that’s not to say there aren’t some pitfalls. Here are four common mistakes that people make when using the popular social networks.

Hashtagging everything

We all have a friend that does this. No matter what they’re posting about, they always end the post with #something. The purpose of hashtags was to make it easy for people to find posts talking about trending topics. So for example, if you wanted to talk about the election, you might use the hashtag #election2016. Other people interested in this topic could then search for that hashtag.

People noticed these tags cropping up and decided it must just be a fun way to end a post and before we knew it, photos of peoples dogs were tagged wth #barneyissocute or #sammysleeping.

Only use hashtags if you’re making a public post about something relevant, nobody ever searches for #iswearmydogreadsmymind. Nobody outside your circle of friends wants or needs to search for things like #boyfriend or #lovehim and if they do that’s kind of creepy anyway, so don’t encourage it.

Giving away your location

It’s always tempting to tell your friends on social media where you are and what you’re doing. Naturally, you want to boast about your fantastic holiday or the great meal you’re having. One of the first social networks to realise this was Foursquare. Allowing users to “check in” to locations and even become a virtual mayor, this social network has waned in popularity since Facebook and Twitter added location services too.

The problem with location services is that they can be a little too accurate. If you’re tweeting to your followers from your home, do you really want them to know exactly where you live? Probably not, so be careful to disable location services on your phone or PC if you need privacy. In Windows 8 and 10 you can turn off location services by searching for “Privacy Settings” on the Start menu/screen or search bar.

Keep in mind too, that if your tweets or Facebook posts are public, anyone can see when you’re out of the house if you use location services, this makes it quite convenient for burglars!

Judging a business by its number of likes

We’ve all heard the stories of social media obsessed teens and tweens obsessing over the number of “likes” their posts or Facebook pages get and of course this is unhealthy. However, many adults are guilty of judging a company or individual on Facebook or Twitter by the number of likes they get. If they have a lot of likes, that must mean a lot of happy customers, right?

Unfortunately this is inaccurate for several reasons. First of all, many people “like” a page on Facebook just to keep up with posts on that page. The same applies on Twitter too, where people follow companies they might be annoyed with, just to make communicating with them easier.

Secondly, big companies know that likes are valuable, not just because it means their posts get out to a bigger audience, but because people assume it means the company is more trustworthy. Because of this, companies use all kinds of tactics to artificially boost their likes, from buying fake followers to running competitions where you need to like a page to enter. Sadly, this is widespread, there’s no way to tell the genuine number of likes a page actually has any more.

Getting the privacy settings wrong

Almost everyone, even experienced computer users, gets confused when confronted with social media privacy settings. The problem is that Facebook, Twitter etc want you to share as much as possible. It’s better for them the less privacy you have, as public posts drive engagement and thus advertising revenue.

Posting everything publicly can cause all sorts of problems. Younger people in particular have found potential employers will snoop on their Facebook pages. Posting those pictures of that wild night out might have seemed fun at the time, but this isn’t the side of you that you want to show to a potential employer.

Give your Facebook page a privacy tune-up by visiting this link. At the very least, make sure your posts can only be viewed by people you actually are friends with. Keep in mind too, that even if you lock your own Facebook page down so that nobody can see your posts, it only takes one friend to share a picture or post publicly for it to become public, so the best thing to do is simply don’t share anything you wouldn’t be happy having in the public domain.

Tip of the Month – Highlight Your Favourite Folders

When you’re working on your PC, managing your photos, music or videos, you might want to highlight or customise a certain folder so you can spot it quickly. You can easily do this by using a folder picture or a different icon. Doing this is really easy and it works in all modern versions of Windows. While working in Windows Explorer or File Explorer, right click on any folder and select Properties from the context menu. A folder properties window will appear, click on the Customise tab. You can now click on ‘Change Icon’ and choose any icon you like, or click on “Choose File…” under folder pictures to choose a picture to show on the folders icon instead.

You can also easily revert either of these changes by clicking the “Restore Default” button.

Free Utility of the Month – FixWin for Windows 10

Windows 10 has seen some significant improvements from when it launched nearly a year ago, but we still have some serious concerns about its reliability. While it’s fine on most of our systems, we’ve seen more than our fair share of problems with the Start menu and the Store both being common points of failure.

Luckily, in most (though worryingly not all) instances, you can fix these problems easily by entering a few commands into the command prompt. If the idea of using the command prompt fills you with dread, try FixWin for Windows 10 instead. FixWin allows you to quickly and easily apply the most common troubleshooting fixes for Windows 10 and get that stuck Start menu going again. While it won’t help with every problem, the tool can solve a number of frustrating situations and is well worth having at your disposal.

Maybe the anniversary update will make this tool obsolete, we can but hope!

Windows Store App of the Month – Metro Commander Pro

Have you ever tried to use File Explorer on your tablet PC? If you have, you’ve probably found it a frustrating, fiddly experience, especially if you were using a finger rather than a stylus. Luckily, there’s an alternative. Metro Commander Pro (and the free, ad-supported Metro Commander) work like Windows Explorer, but with an interface that’s much more tolerable on a tablet. You can copy, move, delete and organise files easily using it’s touch optimised interface.

Now fully updated for Windows 10, Metro Commander Pro is essential for anyone who needs to manage files on their Windows tablet. You can get the program here.

Get Windows 10, Even if you want to Keep Windows 7 or 8!

It’s getting closer to the one-year anniversary of Windows 10. If you haven’t upgraded yet, keep in mind that the upgrade offer was promised for the first year only so it may expire. Although it’s likely that Microsoft will extend the offer indefinitely, there’s no guarantee.

If you don’t want Windows 10, that’s fine. Windows 7 will be supported until 2020, Windows 8 until 2023. If you’re happy with your current OS, nobody is forcing you to upgrade.

Then again, it’s never a good idea to look a gift-horse in the mouth. Even if you don’t really want the gift right now, you might in the future. Maybe you don’t want Windows 10, but whoever you pass your computer on to when you upgrade might feel differently. PCs last longer these days, it’s likely that many of the machines we have now will still be useful in 2020. By that time, Windows 7 will become obsolete. With no more security updates, using it past this cut-off date will be risky.

Here’s how you can take the Windows 10 upgrade without actually changing to Windows 10.

1) Buy a suitable external hard drive (if you don’t have one already) and back up your computer using a tool such as Macrium Reflect. This step is optional but highly recommended, as Microsoft allow you to roll back to your previous version of Windows anyway, but it never hurts to take precautions. At the very least, back up any important documents, pictures etc before proceeding.

2) Install the Windows 10 upgrade. You can do this from Windows update or, if you need a DVD or USB to install from, use the Media Creation Tool.

3) Try Windows 10 if you like, when you’re ready to go back, follow this article.

4) You can now go back to Windows 10 whenever you want to, simply by upgrading through Windows update or, if that option is removed, by using the Media Creation Tool.

There you have it, you’ve got Windows 10 if you ever need it, but can carry on with the Windows 7 or 8 you’re more comfortable with.

Things Microsoft need to improve in Windows 10

Before we start this article, let the record show that we, in fact, like Windows 10. It’s by no means perfect, but then neither is Windows 7, Windows 8, Linux, Mac OS or any other operating system. Despite our enthusiasm, there are some key areas we believe Microsoft badly need to improve on and while generally we would still advise anyone to take the upgrade, there are some caveats here that everyone should be aware of.

Customer service and support

Our experiences with telephoning Microsoft customer support have been abysmal. We truly feel sorry for the poor customer service reps who have to work in these conditions. Like many other big companies, Microsoft have skimped on call centre staff by outsourcing the work to countries where labour is cheap. As a result, call quality is dire, and trying to read serial numbers or other information is an exercise in frustration.

The quality of online support seems to have dropped too, with many answers on Microsoft’s forums being simply re-hashes of a basic script, written in bad English or simply nonsensical.

Does Microsoft appear to be addressing this? – Not that we’ve heard of, let’s hope consumer pressure helps change their mind.

General reliability

When Windows 10 works well, it’s great. It’s the fastest, most secure version of Windows there’s ever been. We’ve had a great experience on most of our PCs, but equally we’ve seen more problems across the PCs used by our friends and family than we ever encountered under Windows 7 or 8. Currently, for example, the Windows Mail app will not open at all on our Dell Venue tablet PC. To rub salt in the wound, the PC that we had so much trouble with in Issue 31 has gone wrong yet again and refuses to let us open the Start menu.

Does Microsoft appear to be addressing this? – Microsoft has extended its bug bounty, that is a programme that awards computer science professionals who find critical bugs, but that only applies to security vulnerabilities. Other problems, like the notoriously unreliable Start menu, we can only pray will get better. If we had to pick any one area that we felt was most in need of improvement, this is definitely it.

Tablet mode

Tablet mode is one feature that took a backwards step in Windows 10. Windows 8 was much loved by those few users who were lucky enough to have hardware that really took advantage of it. On Windows 10, Tablet mode is much more clunky. The taskbar appears over your apps, often obscuring part of the app. If you hide the taskbar it annoyingly comes back every time you put your finger near the bottom of the screen.

Does Microsoft appear to be addressing this? – There are some tablet mode improvements in the anniversary update, including better inking (stylus) support and the return of the full screen “All apps” view that was in Windows 8. How far this goes to addressing the shortcomings in Tablet mode remains to be seen.

Gaming features

Gaming on Windows is usually something you either care a great deal about or pay little or no attention to at all. However, modern games are some of the most demanding computer programs that users run, so gamers tend to want the latest and greatest technologies.

Gaming in Windows 10 isn’t bad, in fact it’s every bit as good as it was in Windows 7 or 8. Microsoft’s efforts to make gaming better in Windows 10 have fallen somewhat flat however. The Universal Windows Platform that we discussed last issue has proven to be wholly unsuitable for games. The new Xbox One controller that works exclusively with Windows 10 has extensive compatibility problems with many older games. The in-game overlay that Microsoft added to Windows 10 to make capturing screenshots and videos in your games works only in a scant few titles and offers so little functionality that most gamers simply disable it.

Does Microsoft appear to be addressing this? – After a backlash from games players against titles launched on the Windows Store using the Universal Windows Platform, Microsoft promised they would “continue to improve”. However, Microsoft’s previous gaming initiative, Games For Windows Live, was so badly received and poorly supported and developed that most gamers are simply choosing to ignore Windows 10s gaming features and continue to use other store-fronts and services such as Valve software’s Steam.

It is certainly a shame that reliability problems in particular have tarnished what has otherwise been a great experience with Microsoft’s new OS. Perhaps now Windows 10 has had time to mature, we’ll see an end to these problems after the anniversary update, we can but hope!

That concludes our newsletter for May. 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 June 2016 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 and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!

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