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Monday, January 25, 2016

1633. Turn Browser Apps into Desktop Apps

I use Google Inbox for my email in Windows 10, but I get tired of having to keep a browser window open all the time. I often close the browser when I’m done working with email by accident, and forget that I need to keep it open for email. I’d love it if I could create some sort of separate desktop application just my Google Inbox email. Can you help?
This problem is the very reason why many people use a dedicated email client desktop application, like Outlook, Windows Mail, or Thunderbird on Windows, or Outlook or Mac Mail on a Mac. If you want to use the Google Inbox user interface, you need a browser window or an app on your iOS or Android device (The user interface is awfully nice—check it out at, and once you’ve set it up, browse to There is no client application that presents this user interface to you as a separate window, at least on Windows. On the Mac, you can use the MailPlane app ( uses this application daily) or several other newly created (and untested by us) applications that present this Web interface wrapped up in a desktop application. If you’re a Gmail user on a Mac, Ken can’t recommend MailPlane highly enough—it’s a wonderful wrapper around Gmail, including Inbox and Calendar—that works exceptionally well. Highly recommended!
But back to the point—on Windows, you’ll need some extra help to set up Google Inbox in a separate window. The goal would be to have Google Inbox act like a standard Windows desktop application, and you can do this, with the right tools! A browser application that looks and acts like a desktop application is called a “site-specific browser”—it’s a way of making a browser window work like a desktop app, and that’s the goal here. Google Chrome, the browser from Google, makes this relatively easy, on Windows (not on the Mac, for reasons unknown to us).
Start by ensuring that you have a recent copy of Google Chrome installed on Windows ( Start Chrome, browse to the Google Inbox site (or whichever site you want to create a site-specific browser for), and click on the three-line menu in the upper-right corner of the browser window. (That icon is often called the “hamburger”—no kidding!—because it kind of looks like a hamburger with bun and filling. We don’t make this stuff up.) From that menu choose More Tools and then Add Taskbar. The Add Taskbar menu pops up a dialog box that displays what the application will be called—change it if you want—and make sure to check the Open in Window checkbox. Click Add. This action adds a new item to the Task Bar. That’s it! You now have an icon on the Task Bar that you can click at any time to open a browser window specific to Google Inbox (or any other site). It looks and feels like any other desktop application.

For more information, check out the article here:

1632. Handling the iPad Keyboard

I often create emails on my iPad and my emails often need to contain foreign characters and currency symbols other than dollars. I can’t find an easy way to insert these characters into my emails, and I’m really frustrated. Is there some trick I’m missing?
If you find yourself using non-English characters more often than not (if, for example, you’re actually typing in French, or Arabic, or Chinese, for example), you’ll want to install a separate keyboard for that language. To do this, in the Settings app, select General, then Keyboard, then Keyboards, and Add New Keyboard. This option allows you to select any of the many specific-language keyboards available in iOS. Once you have added the keyboard you need, you can select it while typing by tapping the globe icon in the lower-left corner of the iPhone or iPad keyboard.
If, on the other hand, you’re generally typing English words but just need to include an accented character once in a while, adding a new keyboard is seriously overkill. There’s a really simple solution, but it’s not one that you would find on your own. The answer is to find the English character most like the one you want to enter, and then press and hold the key until you see a list of options for the character. For example, press and hold the “o” key, and you’ll see many different versions of the “O” character, including “Ò” and other variations on the character. The same technique works for all the vowels. Press and hold “s”, and you’ll find variations on “s” including the German “ß” character. Press and hold the “$” key, and you’ll find options for multiple currency symbols, including Japanese Yen and British Pounds. With the extra characters displayed, slide your finger to the one you need, and release—iOS inserts the character you selected into the text you’re typing.

Give it a try! When creating an email on iOS, try pressing and holding all the different characters to see what they do. Some do nothing (the “f” key, for example) but many supply multiple options, making it easier for you to insert foreign characters easily into the text you’re creating.

1631. Play DVDs in Windows 10

I used to play DVD’s on my computer when I had Windows 7 installed but now that I have upgraded to Windows 10 I can’t play my DVD’s. I see that Microsoft has an app I can purchase for $15 that allows me to play DVD’s. Do I really need to pay this fee for something that used to be free?

It’s true you could play DVD’s in Windows 7 but in Windows 10 using the native applications you cannot. Look at this way, the upgrade to Windows 10 was free and Microsoft has to make its money somewhere so they are monetizing anything they can and the DVD player is just one of those things. Yes, you could pay Microsoft $15 for its DVD player but there is really no reason to do that. Instead, there are many applications you can use that allow you to play DVD’s without having to pay any money. One of them that is a great application is called VLC. VLC runs on Windows 10, it can play DVD’s and it has one especially important feature, it is free. Check out the information and the link to VLC on our website.

1660. Windows lost password.

I forgot my Windows password. Is there any hope to access my system?

Well let's say Houston we have a problem.

1. If you have Windows 8 or higher and used the Windows account concept when setting up your system then you can

Reset Your Microsoft Account Password

If you don't use Windows 8, or do but login with a local account, the easiest way to get out of a "lost Windows password" predicament is to use your password reset disk - assuming of course you have one. You'll know if you do.

3.  Have an Administrator Change Your Password

The next easiest way to find a lost Windows password is to forget the idea of finding it at all! Just have one of the other users on your computer change your lost password for you. If you don't have another user this of course will not work.
This brings up a strong suggestion to add a second administrator user to your computer now and save the password information.  

4.  Guess Your Password

Don't laugh! I know this might seem like obvious advice and something I'm sure you think you've done already. 
The trick here is to make an educatedguess. Most passwords, even complicated and well designed ones, are inspired by the people, places, and things in the account holder's life.

5.  Hack Into Windows With a Password Recovery Tool

Hacking into Windows might sound dangerous, illegal, and too complicated but the reality is quite the opposite.
Windows password recovery tools are just software programs that you can freely download from various legitimate websites and then use to either find the lost Windows password or quickly reset/delete it, allowing you back in.

6.  Reset Your Password With This Trick

Okay, I admit, resetting your password with this trick might be slightly harder than actually pushing a "reset" button, but it's just short of guaranteed to work.
If downloading unfamiliar software, burning discs, or mastering flash drives doesn't sound like things you're interested in, give this a try. You'll have to do a little command-line work but all you'll need is access to your Windows installation or recovery media... and a little patience.

7.  Clean Install Windows

This is the option you really don't want to try but I include it here because it's a certain fix for a Windows lost password problem.
A clean install of Windows is a complete erasure of your hard drive, followed by a reinstallation of the Windows operating system. I have some great step-by-step tutorials linked below but the clean install process is time consuming and you lose everything in the process.
I have been able to take the hard drive out of the computer and install it as a second drive on another computer.  I used recovery software and was able to recover documents, pictures and most user data.  Then when I installed a new Windows system I added this data to the new user.  
Don't for get your password but now you know some things to do so you don't have to start from scratch.

1661. Windows 10 backup?

Windows 10 has built in backup. Is it good? Compare to Time Machine.

Clearly Apple did good with Time Machine. It just works.

Windows has always had built in file backup software that worked, but they never had software that would restore a failed drive.Remember there is more to recovering your system than having your Word documents and pictures. There is the operating System, all of your programs, personal files, and the many little settings that over the last 4 years made your system your personal computer.

You need software that will recover your complete computer "image". Until Windows 10 you needed a MAc, or someb3rd party backup software like Macrium's Reflect or Acronis True Image.

Macrium has a "home" use free version that works great.

But now with Windows 10 you can set up file backups as well as full image backups. Go to Settings, Update and Security, Backup, Options, and under Advanced Settings, System Image Backup.

You will need a backup Drive for any of these products. For under $100 you can get a 4TB USB drive that will provide your with lots of backup space.

If you have the luxury get an extra computer disk drive and test to make sure you can recover your backup.

If you think $100 is too much cost think about how much time it will take you to recover your system without these tools or how much it will cost you to hire someone to do it for you.

1662. Buy a used computer. Good idea?

Buying used computers. Is this safe?

I have just bought some used computers for one of my clients. Besides the considerable cost saving to purchase a used computer we have had a very good experience.

If you buy from an Ebay seller check out that seller for any issues. The sellers are very concerned about getting bad reviews so I have found them to be usually a good risk.

Make sure you get a valid operating system key so you can re-install the operating system from scratch. I would not just accept the installed system. You never know what "spy" software could be installed.

So look for a good seller rating and always format and re-install the operating system,.

Reinstall operating system -- virus check

1658. Check for Valid Links in Email

How can I know if a link in an email or web page is bad before I click it?

This is an interesting question. Because of the virus scares you really want to be careful when going to websites. This is especially true when you see links on a strange web site. Even links in emails can be dangerous. 

First hover over it. Remember the link you see is not necessarily the address. The first think to look for is the actual domain portion. If the display name says it is a link to a known domain like but when you hover over it, it says the domain is you know this might be a problem. Don't click on the link.

After the domain name portion the rest of the actual link is probably irrelevant. But make sure the domain portion is something expected.

Use a Link Scanner

Link scanners are websites and plug-ins that allow you to enter the URL of a suspicious link and check it for safety. There are many free and reliable link scanners available; I suggest you try URLVoid first. URLVoid scans a link using multiple services, such as Google, MyWOT, and Norton SafeWeb, and reports the results to you quickly.

Check Out Shortened Links

URLVoid can’t properly handle shortened URLs from services such as bitly,, and TinyURL (URLVoid will scan the shortening service website instead of the link to which it points). To scan the mysterious shortlinks you’ll often find on Twitter and Facebook, use Sucuri. Sucuri automatically expands the shortlink and draws upon a handful of services, such as Google, Norton SafeWeb, and PhishTank, to determine if the real link is safe. You can also use Sucuri for scanning nonshortened links, but URLVoid checks more sources.

1659. Script errors when on Facebook.

When on a website, especially Facebook I get a pop up dialog identified as a script error. IE mostly but other browsers. What can I do.

This type of error is becoming more and more prevalent and it can happen with all browsers and is not limited to Facebook.

What is usually happening is your browser simply does not know how to display what the website wants. This is caused usually by the add-on extentions for browsers. The website authors want to do fancy things that the browser was not originally designed to display so the browser extension was created and now is causing the error.

Bottom line it is usually the websites problem.

But how can you get around the error so you don't miss that important Facebook article?

1. Try a different browser.
2. Make sure your operating system is current.
3. Make sure you have updated your browser with all of the latest fixes.

Our blog has some links you can go to to get around this problem.

IE fix

1663. Dialog pop up to run a program.

I have some programs that when I start each time up pops a dialog that identifies the program and manufacturer and make me authenticate that it is OK to run the program. How can I make this stop asking me? User Access Control popup

When Windows Vista was launched, User Account Control (UAC) was the most criticized and misunderstood feature. It is important for security. Many people still disable it. You should consider being more involved.

This feature has been improved in Windows 7 and Windows 8 and 10 and, even if it adds a lot to the security of the operating system, many users still choose to disable it.

Lets discuss keeping it active.

Some programs will change Windows settings and you want to have special control over these programs to make sure these settings are only changed when you want them changed.

These programs should use UAC to control them.

If you do not want the UAC to notify you when programs are installed or make changes to Windows settings you can turn off or change the notification settings for the UAC by going to the Control Panel and type uac and select "Change User Account Control settings".

Read the options and select the appropriate setting that fits your needs. Try to leave the setting as restrictive as it fits your useage.

You must be logged in as an administrator to make these changes.

1630. Boot into Safe Mode in Windows 10

I recently tried to solve a problem with my Windows 10 computer and I tried to boot in the safe mode as I’ve done many times in Windows 7. I pressed and held the F8 key at boot up and nothing happens, it never goes into safe mode.

The ability to press F8 at startup has been there for a long time in Windows allowing you to boot into safe mode. The ability to boot into safe mode is still there in Windows 10, the problem is it’s turned off by default. If you want to be able to boot into safe mode there are a number of different ways you can do it. We have a link on our website to an article that explains all three. You can for example, go to the advanced start up options from the system menu and then choose to boot into safe mode. You can turn on the ability to boot into safe mode by pressing F8. All of these options are explained in the article linked from our website. The important thing to remember is, pressing F8 in Windows without making a change won’t do anything at all if you are running Windows 10.

1629. Customizing the Sidebar in Finder on a Mac

I have some specific folders I need to use often when working on my Mac. How do I customize the sidebar and finder so that my special folders appear in the list of folders there?  

On the Mac the finder window is set up to display a list of your favorites in the sidebar. You can easily add new items to that list of favorites by dragging them from the finder window on the right to the sidebar on the left. If you are using an older version of Mac OS X you may find that you need to also press the option key while you attempt to drag it. But, on the latest versions, that is Yosemite and beyond, you can just drag them from Finder into the sidebar window and then they will be there the next time you start your computer or open a Finder window. This makes it a lot easier to get to the folders you need to get to. In Windows Explorer you can do the exact same thing. This isn’t specific behavior on the Mac.

1628. Share Printers using Macs

I have multiple Mac’s in my office but only one printer. I would like to be able to have people on different computers print to my printer. We are all connected to the same WiFi network, can I set this up myself?

If your printer is relatively modern and supports network or WiFi sharing that is probably your best choice. Every printer handles this differently however you will need to look in the documentation to see how to do it. If your network router has a USB port you can also often share a printer through the network router. If you have neither of those things then you can use the Mac’s native sharing and to do that go to System Preferences on the computer that has the printer attached, turn on Printer Sharing and then enable sharing for the specific printer that you would like to share. Then on each of the Macs no matter how you have done this you will need to add the printer so the users can print to the shared printer from their Mac. As a matter of fact the steps for doing this on a Windows PC are exactly the same so there is nothing specific about using a Mac except where you go to turn on printer sharing and that is System Preferences.

1602-Radio. Save Downloaded Versions of Applications

I just bought a new computer and want to reinstall the applications that I use on it. The problem is, one of the apps I use I require a specific version of the application to work with the documents I currently have created. Unfortunately, the website only has the latest version of the application which won’t work for me.

You are correct, you can’t always get the old versions of applications from the manufacturer. There are some websites that have old versions of software that you can download. We have a link on our website that you can also use to search for old versions on the internet. Some of these websites charge you to download the old versions. I don’t know if this is even legal. Some of these sites are actually pretty high risk for Malware. These people think that if you can’t keep track of your own applications then somehow you deserve a virus.

To avoid this problem in the future start a procedure that you follow every time you install a new application. Whenever you start a download normally, you have an option to run or save the download. Make sure you always click on the save and to be safer click on the arrow to the right of the Save and choose Save As. I have a special folder that I use to save all of the installs so when I Save As, I point to this folder. If you just choose Save, Windows will save the file in your download default folder. Yes, you have one of those. I always have my own folder so I can make sure I can back it up. I usually have a subfolder based on the manufacturer and version numbers as well. After the file is downloaded, it will allow you to run the install. If you are installing apps from a DVD, make sure you keep a copy of the DVD or actually download it to your download folder. Now you can install old versions without risking getting a virus from some other website.