Category: Updating your computer

How to set when Windows 10 is allowed to install updates and restart your PC

Up until now, Windows 10 users had no control over how and when their computers or devices chose to reboot in order to automatically install operating system updates. That’s not exactly what you’d call a friendly approach and, even more, it can be quite unhelpful for people using Windows 10 at work. Just imagine what would it mean for you to have a meeting on Skype with an important client and your Windows 10 computer decides to restart and install updates. Not to mention those apocalyptical situations when updates encounter errors: all your work is on that Windows 10 computer and troubleshooting takes forever. Starting with Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft finally took some steps towards correcting these issues with the help of two small and helpful features: Active hours and custom restart times. Read on to see where you’ll find these settings and how to configure them:

NOTE: The features shared in this article apply only to Windows 10 with Anniversary Update or to Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14367 or newer. Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be available for free, to all Windows 10 users, as of August 2, 2016.

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‘Your PC may be infected!’ Inside the shady world of antivirus telemarketing

Scotty Zifka was looking for a sales job. He started one in late May at a company called EZ Tech Support, a small inbound call center in an older building in northeast Portland, Oregon.

Of the hundreds of TED talks available online, many are geared toward helping people view life in a new

The first day of Zifka’s unpaid training involved listening in on sales calls. But within three hours, Zifka felt something wasn’t quite right.

“Everything about it was so weird,” he recalled.

The company’s 15 agents answer calls from people who’ve seen a pop-up message saying their computer may be having problems, and advising them to call a number, which rings at the offices of EZ Tech Support.

The agents are instructed to stick to a 13-page script. They ask callers whether they have an antivirus program installed. If they do, Zifka said, callers are usually told that whatever they’re using isn’t a “full-time real spectrum virus protection program.”

But the agents have a solution: callers can purchase an antivirus program called Defender Pro Antivirus, from Bling Software.

EZ Tech Support sells a perpetual license for the program for $300. Agents also tell callers they can perform a one-time fix on their computers for them, which starts at $250. Callers can haggle for lower prices.

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How to choose just the right all-in-one computer for you

Windows-based all-in-one PCs once earned little respect. While most of today’s AIOs still lack the graphics horsepower for hard-core gaming (we’ll show you one exception), the best models are far removed from the 98-pound weaklings of yore.
Many AIOs use laptop parts, which minimize heat, power consumption, and the need for noisy cooling fans. If you crave more performance, pick a model that uses desktop components (the ones we’ve tested are still relatively quiet). Either way, everything—the CPU, memory, storage, and optical drive—is housed in the same unit as the display, so the computer’s footprint equals that of a monitor. And since most all-in-ones ship with a Wi-Fi adapter as well as a wireless mouse and keyboard, the only cable they require is a power cord.
All-in-one specifications are a blend of what you’ll find in conventional desktop systems and laptop PCs. The thinnest and most compact systems are almost completely built around the same power-efficient technology as laptops.
Here’s our checklist of specs to look for when you go shopping for your all-in-one, followed by some tips and recommendations:

How To Really Speed Up Your Computer – Common Myths & What To Do Instead

You might have noticed that your computer has never been as fast as it was when you first got it. But do you know why our devices slow down over time? Many of us have a number of misconceptions about sluggish PCs, so let’s crack these open and find out how to actually speed things up.

There are myths about slow computers that still get rehashed to this day: keeping too many files slows your machine down; you need to buy as much RAM as possible; viruses are designed to make everything run sluggish. In actuality, these statements aren’t true. Although they do have nuggets of truth contained within, it’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Common Myths discussed

Pro tip: How to install Windows 10 Technical Preview in VirtualBox

Do you want to take a closer look at the Windows 10 Technical Preview, but you don’t want to disrupt your current computing environment with what is essentially an incomplete and potentially unstable operating system? If, so you’re in luck, because you can do so quite easily and without any fear by installing the Windows 10 Technical Preview in an Oracle VM VirtualBox virtual machine. In this article, I’ll show you how.

Get the Technical Preview

To get the Windows 10 Technical Preview, which is available as an ISO file, all you need is a Microsoft Account and an internet connection. To get started, go to the Windows Technical Preview site and read through the information. When you’re ready, click the Get Started button, sign in with your Microsoft Account to join the Windows Insider Program, and then follow the steps to go to the download page (Figure A). Next, download the appropriate ISO file to your hard disk.


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Check for Windows Updates, Learn What They Do & Block Those You Don’t Need

Windows Update is an essential part of running Windows, regardless of which version you have. It’s the way Microsoft releases not only updates but also bug fixes and security fixes. It was changed substantially in Windows Vista and has remained much the same since then. In this tutorial we will show you how to use Windows Update in both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

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Cloud storage vs. external hard drives: Which really offers the best bang for your buck?

Behind the Spec Sheet seeks to draw new insights based on hardware data. Produced by FindtheBest, a company that aggregates specs and features in a centralized database, this weekly guest column will share data-driven discoveries and surprises, and attempt to expose common misconceptions.

By now, you know the basic arguments in the on-site versus off-site storage debate. External hard drives are fast (everything backed up in minutes!) and safe from hackers (you control the data), but are susceptible to theft, fire, and hard drive failure. Meanwhile, cloud solutions provide ongoing, reliable service, but are slower than on-site solutions, and (theoretically) more vulnerable to hackers.

But for today, let’s put aside the usual arguments and focus strictly on cost. Assuming your data will not be hacked, stolen, or burnt to a crisp in a house fire, which solution—cloud storage or an external hard drive—is more cost effective, byte for byte?

At FindTheBest, we compiled data on more than 400 external hard drives, including brands like Seagate, LaCie, and Western Digital, as well as more than 80 online backup services, including familiar names like DropBox and Box, as well as smaller companies like BackBlaze and Crashplan.

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Surface Pro 3: The tablet that can replace your laptop

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 3, which is an impressive piece of hardware. The Surface and Surface Pro 2 were good, but the larger display (12.1 inches vs. 10.6 inches) and shift in aspect ratio (3:2 vs. 16:9) make the Surface Pro 3 much more capable when you need to use it with the Type Cover keyboard as an “ultrabook hybrid” for extended periods of time.

This is not your average tablet. Internally, the architecture of the Surface Pro 3 didn’t change substantially from the previous model. The tablets still use the fourth generation Intel Core processor line, codenamed “Haswell.” The Haswell chips enable the Surface Pro 3 to go for up to nine hours on a single charge. Surface Pro 3 comes with either 4 GB or 8 GB of RAM, and a 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB SSD. It also has 5 MP / 1080p HD cameras on both front and back, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, a microSD card slot, and a full-size USB 3.0 port.

I pointed out a couple weeks ago that one of the reasons the Surface tablet line has struggled is because of a branding and marketing failure by Microsoft. Microsoft focused on the fact that the Surface is a tablet and even ran commercials — rather clever ones, actually — comparing the Surface against the iPad. That was a mistake, and Microsoft has adopted a new strategy for the Surface Pro 3.

Beware of Fake Funeral Notices

With the latest malware campaign aimed at hijacking sensitive computer files and online accounts, scammers have sunk to a new low — specifically, six feet under.

Cybercrooks are emailing fake funeral notifications. Stealing the names and logos of legitimate funeral homes, they appear to be an e-invite to a funeral or remembrance service for an unnamed friend or acquaintance. 

Take a look at two great features in Windows 8.1

While I didn’t particularly care for the concept of combining the tablet user interface with the desktop user interface when Windows 8 came out, I have to admit that after using Windows 8.1 for the last couple of months, I think I’m starting to come around. I’m not sure if my resolve is simply giving way to the inevitable fact that Microsoft isn’t going to give up on the combined user interface or whether the changes that they made in this iteration of Windows 8 are really an improvement on the concept. I guess I have to say that it is a little of both.

Now don’t think that I’ve completely fallen under their spell. I still feel that the complete removal of the old Start menu from Windows 8 was a travesty and that return of the Start Button in Windows 8.1 is a halfhearted effort. But, since I am still a fervent user of Start Menu Reviver, which I enthusiastically endorsed last summer in my article The Windows 8 Start Menu reimagined and reinvigorated, I have been able to overlook this sleight of hand and really begin to appreciate some of the other enhancements in Windows 8.1 – namely the new Start Screen and the new Snap feature that allows you to have more than two modern apps open on the screen at one time.

In this article, I’ll take a closer look at these new Windows 8.1 features and discuss why I like them.

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