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Posted on Feb 19, 2018 in Newsletter, Welcome | 0 comments

TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 57 – Does your PC need a tune up? As a matter of fact, probably not!

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Top Windows Tutorials
TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 57

Hi, welcome to the February 2018 TWT Newsletter

Greetings from a cold and sometimes snowy United Kingdom. The weather here might be frightful, but our newsletter is, of course, still delightful. This month we’ve a look at a crackdown on “scareware” software and a report on Windows 10 S edition, the little known edition of the OS that may already be coming to an end.

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In this months issue:-

Does your PC need a tune up? Probably not and Microsoft is cracking down!
Tip of the Month –  Make sure you have an Operating System Recovery drive
Free Utility of the Month – MiniTool Partition Wizard Free
Windows Store App of the Month – Google
Is Microsoft about to retire Windows 10 S? (Windows 10 what-now?!)

Does your PC need a tune up? Probably not and Microsoft is cracking down!

Does your PC not feel as fast as it once did? Most of us will have experienced this phenomenon. Maybe your computer really has slowed down, after all, some Windows updates can cause performance to degrade in some circumstances, as we saw in last months newsletter with the latest patches for the Meltdown bug. Furthermore, you could simply have loaded more software onto your computer, particularly software that runs when you start your PC, and this can genuinely have a detrimental effect on performance.

If you’ve longed for the fast computer you remember when you first opened the box, you might have considered trying one of the many PC Tuneup, registry cleaning or PC optimizer programs. If you’ve read our page about registry cleaners, you will know we don’t have a high opinion of these particular tools. We’re often approached by vendors asking us to promote their product. Our reply is always “No, unless you can provide proof that your tools actually make a difference to the users computer”. So far, no company has ever managed to provide anything more than anecdotal evidence.

One common marketing trick used by vendors of these kinds of utilities is to allow you to download their software and “scan” your PC for free. These scans invariably flag up all kinds of supposed problems or potential optimizations. If you want the software to fix them, you have to pay of course. If you find the pitch convincing enough and pay the fee, chances are you will be disappointed with the results. Although the software might technically fix or remove certain registry keys, this process is unlikely to have any impact on your computers performance.

It seems Microsoft has had enough of this deceptive behavior and soon this kind of application (often called “scareware”) will be added to Windows Defender’s black lists. While Microsoft is stopping short of flagging all of the so called registry cleaner and PC optimization apps to this list, they are promising to become much more strict as to which apps do end up on this list. If an app uses “alarming or coercive messages or misleading content to pressure you into paying for additional services or performing superfluous actions,” then they will be blocked, according to Microsoft.

It will be interesting to see how far Microsoft takes this action. As many of us believe, registry cleaning is a superfluous action anyway, so paying a company for software to do this makes no sense. We imagine only the most coercive offenders will be punished, while applications that more sensibly tell you that certain optimizations can be performed will be allowed to continue.

If you want some tips on how to speed up or maintain your PC, check out our guides to speeding up your PC here and our guides to PC maintenance here.

Tip of the Month – Make sure you have an Operating System Recovery drive

Ah, a shiny PC. You tear into the box, eagerly attach the power cable and power up your new prize possession. Several years later, something happens and your computer will no longer start properly.

Being a Top-Windows-Tutorials.com reader, you don’t panic. You backed up all your important documents using our handy backup tutorials. After your initial panic subsides, you start to wonder how you might fix your PC. Before taking it to a technician, why not try your operating system recovery drive? That is, of course, if you remembered to create this drive in the first place.

A recovery drive is really useful as a first step when troubleshooting a PC that won’t start up. Often, its automatic repair function can fix Windows and give you back a fully working PC, all without having to pay for an IT technician. 

Follow the tutorial here to create your Windows 10 recovery drive today, don’t put it off until it’s too late!

Free Utility of the Month – MiniTool Partition Wizard Free

This months free utility isn’t for everyone, in fact we’d strongly advise against using it unless you’re really sure what you’re doing. Computer hard dives can be petitioned, if desired. These petitions look like separate hard drives to the computer. Normally you don’t need to change or edit partitions, but very occasionally it can be helpful to change or move a recovery partition for instance. If you should ever need to view or even edit partitions on a hard drive, there’s a reliable free tool called MiniTool Partition Wizard Free. This little tool can move, resize and delete partitions quickly and easily. You can download the tool here

It should go without saying but, we’ll say it anyway, make sure you have a backup copy of your data before you attempt any operations like this!

Windows Store App of the Month – Google

They may be rivals in the market, but Google still saw fit to bring an application to Windows 10. This all in one app lets you access Google Search, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google drive and more. If you regularly use Google apps on your phone, or perhaps an Android tablet, this can be a convenient way to use and share information between your devices.

Grab a copy of the Google app for free by clicking this link.

Is Microsoft about to retire Windows 10 S? (Windows 10 what-now?!)

Windows 10 comes in a range of different versions. As far as home users are concerned, the main choices are Home edition and Professional edition. However, that’s not the only edition of the OS that was offered to consumers. If you were unfortunate enough, you may have ended up with Windows 10 S. Certain models of the Microsoft Surface, as well as laptops from HP and Acer came pre-installed with this version of the OS, which differs from the regular Windows 10 experience in several key ways. First and foremost, only apps downloaded from the Windows Store can run on Windows 10 S devices. Secondly, no third party applications can run at all, that includes applications that do not require administrator access to run on regular versions of Windows. Furthermore, the number of things that can be done in Powershell or the command prompt are seriously limited.

Microsoft intended Windows 10 S to be used in markets like education, where Google Chromebooks have started to eat into the Redmond giant’s market share. Paired with cheaper hardware, Windows 10 S was intended to beef up security to the max by making it physically impossible to install or run malware.

While computer geeks the world over turned their noses up at such restrictions, they clearly have benefits for some users. Clearly when computers are given to children, they will often try to add or download new software from the internet, often with disastrous consequences. Inexperienced users often fall into a similar trap, perhaps when offered free upgrades or “scareware” (as per our first story this month). 

Of course, restricting Windows in this fashion has lots of drawbacks too. Foremost in most users minds is the lack of software in the Windows store. While there are a number of high quality applications in the store now, it pales in comparison to the software available for Windows on the open internet. Furthermore, if something goes wrong with your Windows 10 S machine, these restrictions can actually make things difficult or impossible to put right. 

Perhaps these restrictions were a little too much for most users to swallow, as it seems that Windows 10 S edition is soon to be no more, at least as a standalone version of the operating system. According to zdnet.com and several other sources on the Internet, Windows 10 S is going to change into “S mode” in future builds of the operating system. We’ve long advocated for users to create standard user accounts for their day to day computing tasks and especially for children or less computer savvy family members to use. S mode will go even further, allowing you to lock out all but trusted Windows store apps on your machine. Want to make sure the kids are playing Minecraft and only Minecraft? Now you can, or at least you will be able to when S mode becomes a reality. 

It remains to be seen exactly how this feature will be implemented. Ideally, each new user account will have the ability to be set to Standard, Administrator or S mode. The ability to whitelist certain apps and allow them to run even when the machine is in S mode would be useful too.

If you’re already using Windows 10 S, fear not, while it’s yet to be confirmed officially by Microsoft, a free upgrade to the standard version of Windows 10 is strongly rumored to be in the offering. That is, of course, unless you have Windows 10 Pro S, which will cost you $49 to upgrade.

Reports from around the internet also suggest Microsoft is planning some new versions of Windows 10 for lower end systems to replace the old “S” version. These versions should start shipping in April and we’ll have more information on any significant differences for those of you looking to buy new hardware in the spring.

That rounds off newsletter for February. On behalf of everyone here at Top-Windows-Tutorials, I’d like to thank you all for your continuing support. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th March 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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