Have a question about the book? Ask me!
Q: After running Windows Update this morning, Windows 8.1 now acts differently. What gives?
Is there anything major I should know about?
A: Microsoft continues to tweak Windows 8, a major overhaul to Windows that caught many computer owners off guard.
Microsoft tried to repair some of the damage with Windows 8.1, and today Microsoft released an update to Windows 8.1 that changes Windows yet again.
Microsoft officially calls the April 8, 2014 update “Windows 8.1 Update 1.” (Others call it the “Spring Update.”) But no matter what it’s named, the April update changes Windows 8.1 in many small ways. Luckily, most of the changes are welcome.
Windows 8 aimed mostly at mobile touchscreen tablet owners, leaving desktop owners out of luck. This new update embraces desktop PC owners, letting them control Windows 8.1 more easily with a mouse and keyboard. Specifically, the update brings these changes: Click to read more »
Q: If I sign up for a Microsoft account in Windows 8 or 8.1, do I have to change my email address instead of staying with my current e-mail address?
Will I have to pay a monthly fee, and will I have to notify everyone of my new email address?
A: In a word, no. Signing up for a Microsoft account is much more difficult than it should be, probably because Microsoft offers so many ways to create one.
You can create a Microsoft account by creating an entirely new e-mail address, for example, perhaps one from Outlook.com.
However, you can also convert any e-mail address into a Microsoft account, and that’s the best method for people who have used the same e-mail address for years.
So, lets tackle your questions one by one. Click to read more »
Posted: April 2nd, 2014 under Email, Internet, Surface For Dummies, Windows 8, Windows 8 For Dummies, Windows 8 For Tablets For Dummies, Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 For Dummies.
Tags: microsoft account, old e-mail address
Q: When I enter Windows 8′s Desktop app, some programs start themselves automatically.
In Windows 7, I stopped programs from loading automatically by removing their shortcuts from the Start menu’s Startup folder.
But in Windows 8, I can’t find the Startup folder!
How can I prevent unwanted Windows 8 programs from automatically loading themselves onto the desktop? I don’t want to uninstall them.
A: Like impatient children, some programs don’t wait until they’re called. These eager programs load automatically, jumping onto the desktop as soon as possible.
In Windows 7, they automatically jump onto the desktop each time you turn on your computer. In Windows 8, they wait until you load the Desktop app, then fling themselves onto the screen.
For often-used programs, this is a benefit. But for other programs, it’s simply a nuisance.
Stopping these impatient programs is fairly easy in Windows 7: You open the Start menu, click All Programs, click the Startup folder, right-click the offending program’s shortcut, and choose Delete.
But Windows 8 no longer includes a Start menu, much less a Start button. What’s the trick? Click to read more »
Q: My Windows 8 computer crashed with a blue screen, saying it had a problem and need a repair.
Since I couldn’t start my computer, I couldn’t do a Refresh or a Repair, so I had to take the computer to a shop.
How can I avoid this in the future?
A: When Windows is about to die, it doesn’t ask for a last meal. No, for the past 30 years, Windows has used its last breath to toss an error message across a blue screen.
When you see what’s often called the Blue Screen of Death, there’s no going back. Windows has died, taking all your unsaved work along with it.
Sometimes simply restarting your computer fixes the problem. Other times, restarting Windows only brings a repeat of the blue screen. And in Windows 8, that means trouble: You can’t access Windows 8′s built in Refresh and Repair tools.
Your best hope is that you’ve created a Recovery Drive — either a flash drive or CD/DVD — that contains built-in fix-it tools to bring Windows 8 back to live. (I’ve covered Windows 7′s recovery discs and repair discs in another post.)
If you haven’t yet created a Recovery Drive for Windows 8, take the time to follow these steps: Click to read more »
Q: Recently a relative gave me a computer that runs Windows XP.
I’m trying to clean it up, and I discovered several Adobe programs: Acrobat, Air, Shockwave Player, and Flash Player.
Do I need them all, or can they be safely deleted?
A: Since its founding in 1982, Adobe Systems has released many programs, and you’ll find one or two Adobe programs on nearly every PC. But which ones do you need, and which can you safely delete?
The short answer is that you can delete many of them found on older PCs. That’s because the latest versions of Adobe’s most popular and commonly found programs can be downloaded and re-installed for free from Adobe’s download page.
Here are longer answers for the specific programs you found on your particular Windows XP computer: Click to read more »