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I'm one of today's best-selling computer book writers, with more than 15 million books in print.

This website keeps you up-to-date on my books, and your computers. Each week, I answer a reader's question on-line.

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How do I add recurring birthdays into the Calendar app?

Choose Every Year from the Calendar app's How Often drop-down menu to enter recurring events like birthdays and anniversaries.Q: If I put all of my birthday and anniversary dates into Windows 8’s Calendar app, will they automatically reappear a year later?

Or will have to have to remember to enter them all again every year?

A: Windows 8’s Calendar app works well for keeping track of birthdays, anniversaries, and other events.

But there’s a trick: When you enter a birthday or anniversary, you must tell the Calendar app that they’re recurring events. Otherwise the calendar promptly forgets the event next year.

To make sure your birthdays and anniversary entries automatically repeat every year, follow these steps when entering the dates into Windows 8’s Calendar app: Click to read more »

Where are Windows 8’s photo editing tools?

Choose Create from Windows Live Photo Gallery's top menu.Q: Windows 8 doesn’t seem to offer a way to edit images, as you could in Windows 7.

In particular, I’d like to edit my photos for their exposure, color balance and fix otherwise wonky pictures.

Do I have to buy another program, or am I missing something?

A: Neither Windows 7 nor Windows 8 include photo-editing tools with those particular features.

The program you’re missing was probably Windows Live Photo Essentials, which is now called simply Photo Gallery. It’s a free Microsoft program for editing photos. It comes in especially handy for resizing larger photos, making them easier to e-mail.

You probably downloaded Windows Live Photo Essentials onto your old Windows 7 computer, or the program may have been bundled with that PC when sold.

Either way, that program still works on Windows 8 computers, and you can still download it for free:


I covered that program in Windows 7 For Dummies, so it might be the one you’re familiar with.

How do I put Internet Explorer’s icon back on the Windows 8 taskbar?

The Desktop's version of Internet Explorer doesn't let you use the Charms bar's Share feature.Q: I’m trying to find the desktop version of Internet Explorer.

It’s supposed to be on the desktop’s taskbar, but it’s missing.

And I can’t find it on the Start menu, either. This all started when my company installed the Chrome browser.


A: Windows 8 comes with two versions of Internet Explorer — one for the Start screen, and a desktop version that ignores the Charms bar.

Normally, the icon for Internet Explorer’s desktop version appears on the taskbar’s far left end, as shown above. (In a way, the Internet Explorer icon has replaced the Start button in Windows 8.)

But as soon as you (or your company) install a third-party browser like Chrome or Firefox, the Internet Explorer icon disappears.

That’s no great loss if you prefer to browse the Internet with Chrome or Firefox. But it robs you of the chance to switch between browsers.

To put Internet Explorer’s icon back on the taskbar, follow these steps: Click to read more »

Why doesn’t the Charms bar’s Share icon work in Internet Explorer?

The Start screen's ShareCharmQ: I’m reading through Windows 8 For Dummies. In the book’s Charms bar section, it says that the Charms bar’s Share icon lets you share via email whatever web page you’re looking at.

When I try to do that my Charms bar’s Share box says “Nothing can be shared from the desktop.”

Isn’t the desktop where web pages come from? I’m confused.


A: Windows 8 offers many ways to be confused, and this is one of them.

When you want to visit a website in Windows 8, you start by opening Internet Explorer. However, Windows 8 complicates matters because it includes not one, but two versions of Internet Explorer.

As you’ve discovered, each version works differently than the other. Specifically, the desktop version of Internet Explorer ignores the Share charm. The Share charm works in the Start screen’s version of Internet Explorer, however. Here’s how the two browsers work differently: Click to read more »

Finding Freecell in Windows 8

Microsoft Solitaire Collection brings old favorites like Freecell back to Windows 8.Q: I’m an old dog trying to learn a lot of new tricks in order to use Windows 8.

I’m having a terrible time trying to find games like Freecell, Hearts, Spades, and Pinball to play in order to relax as I break away from the awkwardness of learning this new way of doing things.

How do I find these simple and free games in Windows 8? I’d love to be able to place them on my Start screen.

A: Windows 8 removed the traditional Windows Start button, much to the dismay of many longtime owners.

For many people, Microsoft took an even more drastic step: Windows 8 removes the beloved games enjoyed by Windows owners for a decade. You won’t find Freecell or any other traditional Windows games bundled in Windows 8.

They’re not gone forever, though: Those games live on as free apps available from the Store app.

To bring some fun back into the chore of learning a new operating system, follow these steps: Click to read more »