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Posted on Dec 12, 2017 in Newsletter, Welcome | 0 comments

TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 55 – Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Christmas shopping tips

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TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 55

December again and the last TWT Newsletter of 2017 rolls off the digital printing press. At this time of year we’re all using our PCs to shop online, so make sure you keep your PC and web browser up to date to keep out all the latest malware and exploits. Of course, shopping isn’t the only fun thing you can do with your PC this holiday and in our second article this month we’ve some more suggestions as to how your Windows PC can make the festive season even more fun!

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In this months issue:-

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update lands – So what’s new and useful this time?
Tip of the Month –  Use Windows Calculator to, well, calculate!
Free Utility of the Month – WhySoSlow
Windows Store App of the Month – XE Currency
Top Online Christmas Shopping tips

 

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update lands – So what’s new and useful this time?

The latest update to Windows 10 has started rolling out to customers all over the world. Carrying on Microsoft’s commitment to continually add new features to the OS, this fall (or Autumn as we call it here in the UK) update brings a host of new improvements. So what are the important new features this time?, we’ll take a quick look in this article at some of the more interesting ones.

People app – The most visible change to the new update is the little people icon that appears near the bottom right of the screen, next to the notification area. This is the new People app, it’s a quick and easy way of getting in touch with your contacts and you can even “pin” your most important contacts to the taskbar so that you can send them files or photographs quickly and easily.

It’s a neat idea and one that does work,  but only if your contacts happen to be using Skype or e-mail. Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Telegram, Wickr, Wire, Snapchat, Twitter, so forth and so on are not supported, meaning that many friends who use different platforms to communicate are going to miss out.

Mixed Reality – Also known as “augmented reality”, this is a new way of interacting with your computer and the environment. By wearing a headset, Windows can overlay graphics onto the real world view. The potential for this is huge. Imagine a GPS navigation system that could actually point out which street to take, or being guided through a task by an engineer who can actually point out which parts of the equipment you need to work on by virtually drawing on them.

Of course, to use this kind of thing you will need a headset (they start from around £300/$300). Furthermore, the headset needs to be tethered to your PC, so this can make them unwieldy for many tasks. Nevertheless this technology is bound to find many exciting uses in the future and grow and expand, especially as devices get smaller, more affordable and more portable.

Edge improvements – The Microsoft Edge browser continues to grow and improve. With improved support for inking (handwriting), the ability to pin sites to the taskbar and an improved favourites manager.

Task Manager enhancements – Task manager can now show you your GPU (graphics processing unit) usage as well as CPU usage, so you can see how much strain those fancy new video games put on your PCs graphics hardware.

Continue on PC – With Windows Phone being retired, Microsoft are keen to help PCs and Android/iOS phones work together in harmony. Continue on PC is really the start of this. By using the Microsoft Edge browser on your iOS or Android phone, you can now ‘beam’ a web page to your PC easily, just by tapping a button.

Overall then there are a few nice new features to play with in this update and, we’re pleased to say, Microsoft haven’t made any radical changes that require significant re-learning of any key concepts. Our wish-list now is for the People app to support more services and for the “Continue on PC” functionality to be extended and made more flexible. 

 

Tip of the Month – Use Windows Calculator to, well, calculate!

We’re sure some of you are saying “use the calculator, really?”, but bear with us. The humble Windows calculator has been in the OS since version 1.0, but yet, many users don’t even know about it. Recently, we visited a client and noticed he’d blu-tacked a calculator to his monitor, ready for use while online shopping!

If you ever quickly need to work out some sums, simply summon the Calculator from the Start menu or Search bar by searching for “Calculator” (fancy that!). You can now add, subtract, multiply and divide like a genius. After all, computers were built for doing arithmetic! Remember you can even copy the result (right click on the number and choose “Copy”) and paste it into any other application or document too.

 

Free Utility of the Month – WhySoSlow

A slow PC can be a frustrating thing. Is your old hardware really past it, or is there some other reason for the problem? WhySoSlow is a tool that diagnoses several potential problem areas on your PC and tells you if they’re slowing down your system. From overheating processors to dodgy drivers, WhySoSlow can find them all and is a great tool to try if your system isn’t feeling so snappy any more.

Grab your free copy of this tool by visiting this link.

 

Windows Store App of the Month – XE Currency

A simple one this one but nevertheless quite useful. If you’re travelling overseas this holiday season, load this handy currency converter app onto your Windows PC or tablet and you can effortlessly keep an eye on the market rates for all major currencies as you travel. No bells and whistles, just quick currency information at your fingertips.

Grab this app from the Windows store here.

 

Top Online Christmas Shopping tips

By the time you get your TWT Newsletter this month, there will be just fourteen days left until Christmas. Whether you’re relaxed and looking forward to the break, or stressing out over those last few gifts, your Windows PC is such a versatile tool that it can help in all kinds of ways to make the holiday season run more smoothly.

Your Windows PC is ideal for shopping online this festive season. With a bigger screen, a keyboard and mouse for easy text entry and the best performance, the PC beats trying to shop on your phone and tablet hands down. Follow our top tips for Christmas shopping this year and you will ensure everyone has a fantastic time come the big day.

Check where the item is coming from! – Online shoppers often make the mistake of not properly checking where an item is shipping from. Popular online stores like Amazon sell goods that are dispatched and fulfilled by Amazon themselves, usually in your home country, as well as goods that may be dispatched from sellers elsewhere in the world. Items you buy on eBay could be coming from anywhere in the world. Check the small print on the page carefully to find out where the item is actually coming from.

Goods dispatched from outside your own country can, in some cases, have customs fees or face delays in customs, and of course they take longer to reach you than goods you buy from a domestic supplier.

Using tabs – Yes, you at the back, pipe down, we know  you know all about tabs in your web browser, but not everyone does! If you look at the top of your web browser, you will see a small parallelogram (in Google Chrome) or Plus sign (In Firefox or Microsoft Edge). By clicking this, you open a new tab.

In a new tab you can surf to any page on the intenet, without affecting content in the original tab, which you can go back to any time. This makes it a great tool for comparing prices online.

Use multiple User accounts – Your web search history, or even online adverts (which craftily look at what you’ve been browsing online and tailor their output to match), can spoil the surprise of a well planned Christmas gift. The solution to this problem is simple, make sure everyone on your PC has their own user account. This keeps your browsing secret from others in the rest of the family and also lets you keep other files, like documents or videos, private from other users too.

What’s more, configuring a separate user account for your children, or other family members, makes your PC more secure and prevents your kids changing system settings they shouldn’t be tampering with. Find out more about how to add new user accounts in Windows 10 here or in Windows 7 here..

Save time and improve security with a password manager – None of us are good at remembering more than a handful of passwords, so why not get a computer to remember for us? A password manager program acts like a password vault on your PC. You have one, nice long password that you remember. This is known as your master password. This password should never be sent across the internet or used for any of your accounts. Instead, it unlocks all your other passwords which are used for your online accounts.

Password managers can save you time too while you shop. They can automatically fill in your address and credit/debit card details, making for a smooth, fast checkout. No need to store your card details with the online retailer when you can recall them in a flash from your password manager. Our favourite password managers are Roboform and StickyPassword.

Colours can be confusing! – For our readers in the USA, yes that is how we spell “Colours” here in the UK. Whether they are colours or colors, they can be confusing on a computer monitor. If you’re picking out an item of clothing, furniture, artwork or anything where colour choice is important, you need to keep in mind that what you see on your PCs screen (or your phone or tablet) may not be an accurate representation of the actual colour of the item you receive. This isn’t the retailers fault, every screen displays colours differently, especially if it hasn’t been calibrated.

Graphics professionals and AV enthusiasts often buy software and hardware to correctly calibrate their monitors for the best colour reproduction, but this takes time and patience. If you’re not able to do this, allow for a little variation in colour for any items you order online and if colour really matters, make sure there’s time to return the item for a refund or exchange too.

Armed with our fantastic Christmas shopping tips, we’re sure you will scoop up not only those last minute presents, but all the great bargains in the January sales too, have fun and don’t shop too hard! 

That rounds off our newsletter for December. On behalf of everyone here at Top-Windows-Tutorials, I’d like to thank you all for your continuing support and of course, to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy 2018. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th January 2018 and will bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it 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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