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Posted on Dec 3, 2013 in Newsletter | 0 comments

TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 6 – Terrific tablets, Ctrl+Alt+Del a mistake?

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TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 6

Welcome to the November 2013 TWT Newsletter

As we head towards the festive season, the rush for the perfect festive gifts for our loved ones starts again. Tablet PC’s are vying for your attention this year just as much as the traditional desktop or laptop PC. If you’re considering a tablet to complement or even replace a PC, check out our roundup of three fantastic looking new Windows 8 tablets in this months newsletter.

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In this months issue:-

What’s new at
Windows 8.1 Superguide update
Buying a tablet this festive season? Check these terrific new tablets from Microsoft and Nokia!
Tip of the Month – Keep gift ideas secret by configuring user accounts
Free Utility of the Month – Notepad ++
Was Control+Alt+Delete a mistake?


What’s new at

Last month was, of course, all about Windows 8.1. We hope those of you who are sticking with Windows 7 or Windows Vista don’t feel too left out. XP users remember you only have until April 2014 before support and security updates for your operating system are shut off.


picture Master the basics of Microsoft Windows 8.1 and find out what’s new in the latest version of Windows

If you’ve got a Windows 8 machine, check out what’s new in the Windows 8.1 update! There are plenty of changes, the Start button is back, there’s better multitasking for tile applications and much more. You can view all of our new updated Windows 8.1 tutorials here.


picture Installing the Windows 8.1 upgrade

To install the Windows 8.1 upgrade, you use the Windows Store tile and not Windows update as you might expect. This tutorial shows you step-by-step how to install the upgrade.



picture Using Superguides with Windows 8.1 and/or Internet Explorer 11

Thanks to some changes in Internet Explorer 11’s default security settings, some users have been having difficulty using their Superguide DVD’s or downloads after upgrading to Windows 8.1 (which includes Internet Explorer 11). Follow this tutorial for a quick and easy workaround.


pictureWindows 8.1 Superguide update

Our popular Windows 8 Superguide is getting a full update for Windows 8.1. Far from a simple update, we have re-recorded every video and carefully checked every page of the e-book to fully update this best-selling product for the new operating system revision. Thanks to a few last minute changes by Microsoft and an unfortunate sore-throat infection, we’re a little later launching than we hoped, but we are confident that the updated guide will launch this month, with physical and kindle book editions to follow shortly after.

If you only recently purchased the Windows 8 Superguide, fear not. Any sales of the Windows 8 Superguide made on or after the 18th July 2013 will qualify for a free upgrade (for the download version) or an upgrade for the cost of shipping and handling (for the DVD version). If you purchased before that date, you will qualify for a 75% discount off the regular purchase price until the 10th of January 2014. Launch of the Windows 8.1 Superguide will be announced on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so be sure to subscribe if you use those services.


Buying a tablet this festive season? Check these terrific new tablets from Microsoft and Nokia!

While we don’t generally cover Windows RT here on, many of our tutorials are applicable to this special version of the OS too. For those of you who were wondering, Windows RT is a special version of Windows 8 that runs on low-power devices such as tablets and very small laptops. The biggest disadvantage of RT is that it doesn’t run regular Windows software, though most programs in the Windows 8 app store will run.

Windows RT adoption has been slow, due to two factors. A lack of compelling apps and a lack of really good hardware. However, with these two new tablets that could change.

First of all, Nokia’s fantastic looking Lumia 2520 has been turning heads ever since it was unveiled at the Nokia World show. This desirable bit of kit runs Windows 8.1, has a 10.1 inch full HD screen, with a ClearBlack display filter. This, claim Nokia, will help you use your tablet outside, in the glare of the sun. There are also twin HD cameras (one for photography, one for video chat) and a battery that will last up to 10 hours. Add to that the very latest Wi-Fi and high speed LTE cellular broadband and you have one attractive little package. The Lumia 2520 will launch in time for Christmas, though we couldn’t find any details about pricing. Check it out on Nokia’s website here

Also new on the tablet scene is Microsoft’s new improved Surface 2. Building on the strengths of the original Surface, the new model is thinner, faster and lighter than before. Sporting improved battery life, a new improved kick-stand with two different viewing angles and the same ultra sharp 1080p display as the first model. You also get HD video out and USB 3.0 as standard, take that Apple iPad! Just like with the first Microsoft Surface, there are a range of keyboard covers that turn the little device into a mini-laptop. Surface 2 is available now, to find out more visit this page.

Just like the first Surface, the Surface 2 also has a bigger brother. Surface 2 pro again builds on the original Surface pro. Unlike the other two tablets we mentioned here, Surface 2 runs the full version of Windows 8, meaning all your Windows desktop apps are fully compatible too. What’s more, despite its size, it’s no slouch either. With an Intel Core i5 CPU, this desirable slab of silicon can easily run heavy computing tasks like video editing. image processing and even 3D game playing. Budding artists (or just those of us who hate sticky fingerprints) can even take advantage of the devices stylus for precision touch screen work. Microsoft are even set to launch a desktop dock in 2014, that will instantly connect the device to an external keyboard, monitor and speakers. Surface Pro 2 could really be the only computing device you need.

If you’re drooling over the prospect of a powerful Windows 8 PC in tablet form, remember there are still a few trade-offs. Surface 2 pro is heavier and hotter than the regular Surface 2 and prices are almost double that of the standard model too. Nevertheless it remains an attractive proposition for mobile professionals and we hope as technology advances we will continue to see both the price and the weight of Windows 8 tablets come down.

If you’re considering a tablet of any kind this Christmas, remember that a Windows RT or Windows 8 Tablet will allow you to share software with your Windows 8 PC too. Buy a game or app in the Windows 8 app store and it will then unlock on all the Windows 8 devices you own. Certain Windows 8 software isn’t compatible with RT of course, so check the compatibility before you buy an app in the store. Check under “Supported Processors” and if “ARM” is listed as well as x86 and x64 then the app will run on your Windows RT tablet as well as your PC. This can make shopping for software on a Windows tablet much better value if you already have a desktop or laptop machine running Windows 8.

Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT tablets are also the only devices on the market that fully support multiple user accounts, allowing family members to share the device easily, without having access to each others e-mails, surfing history, music and helping to prevent children from making unauthorised app-store purchases.


Tip of the Month – Keep gift ideas secret by configuring user accounts

Have you noticed that, when you shop around online for gift ideas, those very same items you viewed suddenly start showing up on the adverts around other websites you visit? This is thanks to Google, who use your surfing history to tailor their adverts more to you. If you want to opt out of this, see this link.

That’s a pretty good tip if you’re concerned about Google tracking you, but it wasn’t actually our tip this month. If you want to really make sure that what you’ve been shopping for online stays private, make sure everyone in your family has a separate user account. Not only will this keep all your documents, pictures, surfing history and other files private, it means that younger members of the family can’t change PC settings without your permission too. For more details on setting up user accounts, see this link.


Free Utility of the Month – Notepad ++

The venerable Notepad utility, that Windows uses for opening text files, hasn’t seen any significant updates in as long as we can remember. Using Notepad on XP is almost the same as using it on Windows 8.1. Fortunately however, there are a number of replacements. One of our favourites is Notepad++. This fast, lightweight little utility features spellchecking support, tabbed editing, macro support and much more. Download it for free here.


Was Control+Alt+Delete a mistake?

It’s one of the few keyboard shortcuts most Windows users actually bother to remember. Control (or Ctrl) alt and delete, when pressed together, will interrupt your computing session and open up a screen, allowing you to access the task manager amongst other operations. When things go haywire in Windows, this three finger waltz can come to your rescue, allowing you to end any program which has become troublesome and wont respond normally.

For those of us old enough to remember the DOS days, Control+Alt+Delete actually had another purpose entirely. Rather than bring up the Task Manger, pressing these three keys together actually reset the PC entirely. Typically this was done when a DOS program froze the PC, and was accompanied by a great deal of sighing and huffing.

So it was something of a surprise when, in a recent interview, former CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates went on record to say that he considers Control+Alt+Delete to have been a mistake. According to Gates, Microsoft wanted a dedicated button placed on the keyboard rather than a key combination like this, but the IBM keyboard engineers of the time refused and since Control+Alt+Delete was then used as an alternative at such a low level in the programming code, it ended up sticking and remains with us to this day.

It seems strange that Microsoft would want a dedicated button to restart the PC, until you remember that beginning with Windows NT (an early business version of Windows), Microsoft used the three keys as part of the log-on process. Because the famous three-key combination is implemented at a low level in the system, by asking the user to press Control+Alt+Delete before logging in ensures that the real log-in screen is displayed, rather than an imposter program. It’s this process that Gates was probably referring to.

Control+Alt+Delete isn’t the only relic of a bygone age that we still find in Windows today. While recording the Windows 8 Superguide, we were amused to see that the venerable 3.5 inch floppy drive is still supported by the operating system. Meanwhile, the last time we tried a Zip disk (remember those?) under Windows 7, it also worked quite happily. Windows 8 can even run lots of old software from the Windows 98 days and sometimes even earlier, though the move to a 64 bit version of the OS does break compatibility with Windows 3.1 software. It certainly seems some relics from the past will be with us for quite some time, despite Microsoft’s bold push into a touch friendly future!

That concludes our newsletter for November. On behalf of the team here at TWT, I’d like to thank you for reading and for your continued support. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th December 2013 and will bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows XP, 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 and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!

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