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Sunday, May 22, 2016

1709. Two new quick Tips.

As Ken has indicated we are trying to present some Quick Tips from the

Here are two.

1. Schedule DND mode on your Android.  On my Android I can go into DND and set up a schedule.  So on certain days and at certain times I can tell my phone to not bother me.  This has helped my sleeping habits and I don't have to defend myslf when I get  an email at 2 AM and the notification wakes up all in earshot. Works on the iPhone IOS 6+.

2. New to Windows 10?  Biggest complaint.  Start Menu. Programs don't appear.  Click Window button, just start typing the Application name like Word, right button click the Microsoft Word Desktop App that is found, and select Pin to Start, now rearrange on the icon screen.

1712. Evaluate Microsoft software

Need to evaluate a Microsoft product? How can I do this without spending money?

Microsoft has a evaluation center that you can go to and download almost all of their software for anywhere from 15-180 days depending on the product.

This is especially good if you are building a server system or even a complicated workstation system and want to make sure the concept will work for you. Some of Microsoft's server licenses can run in the $4-5,000 range and you do not want to spend that kind of money without confirming the concept will work.

Another approach is to try Microsoft Azure. This is cloud service that allows you to build your system in the cloud so you don't have the hardware investment as well as the software. There is a free trial option for Azure so for little or no ivestment other than time you can test your new system.

Google and Amazon have similar products to do this. and, are three links you can check out these services.

1711. Computer without a DVD

My new computer does not have a DVD drive. How can I install software? 

Installing Windows without a DVD drive or any software that has a DVD install can be difficult with new computers. Most new computers just do not have DVD's.

Fortunately they all have USB ports. Make sure your has a USB 3.0 drive at the very least.

If you already have Windows installed, then you do not need a DVD drive to install software that is in the ISO format. All you need to do is to Mount the ISO file and Windows makes it look like you have a DVD drive.

There are software utility programs that allow you to generate the installation requirements to allow you to make the USB thumb drive or any USB drive into an installation device like a DVD. Do a search for ISO to USB.

Now adays you have the option to download the ISO install file directly to you computer. Mount the file and you are ready to install.

If you have a DVD obviously you will need to borrow a friends computer that has a DVD drive and then find a utulity to copy the DVD to a USB drive or to an ISO file you can copy to your computer. You can also buy a portable USB DVD drive and just use it when necessary.

1710. Upgrade a slow server.

We have a business computer with Windows server 2003. It is running very slowly and it is getting slower. What can I do?

Well there are a number of things you can do to resurrect an old computer. This tips are not necessarily limited to a server.

I was surprised when I looked at my clients old server. It was Windows Server 2003. This is of the same vintage as the XP operating system for workstations.  

The thing I first noticed was the physical memory. It had 2GB of memory. You don't think much about this because most new computers you buy have a minimum of 4GB of memory, and most offer 8GB for very little up-cost.

So here are things that I would do with older computers to improve performance:

1. Increase memory to at least 8GB.
2. Replace the hard drives with SSD drives. These are all electronic drives and are much faster than the old spinning drive. Even replacing the old spinning drive with new faster drives will be a significant improvement and very inexpensive.
Re-installing the OS is also something that you can do. This is usually more effective on workstations because they are more vol-ital, but it is something to consider.

Give these a try. I believe you will be surprised on what a few hundred dollars in hardware can do to implove your computer experience.

1708. Test Software using a Virtual Machine

I often need to try a new application but I am worried it could cause a problem with my computer. Is there someway to test software on my computer that is really safe and no touch anything on my computer?

Yes even a casual user can can do this. It is easier than ever. Including a Mac. Actually you can even run Windows on your Mac. Why would you ever want to , but... Also make a copy of your XP machine and run as a VM.

I would only try to do this if you have a computer with at least 4GB of memory. 8GB is preferred.

Windows 7 and higher has software that you can installcalled Hyper-V. It is very easy to install and set up.

That application can then install what they call Virtual Machines.

So all you need is the installation DVD or ISO file for that operating system that you want to run your software on. This can be the same as your current operating system or even a newer or older operating system.

When you install the VM and start it, you have a fully functional operating system that is independant from your running system.

You can then install your software that you want to test on this VM and see how it works. No matter what happens the application will not cause any issues with your running system.

As I mentioned you can install other Windows systems like Windows 10, or XP.

You can easily make a copy of your VM because all it is, is a file and if you restore the copy of the file you start over fresh.

If you own a MAC you can run other MAC OS's as well as on some Macs you can also run Windows VM's. Not that there would be any reason to do this.

It is very easy to do, almost as easy as creating a Word document.

1707. Use a picture as a password

I saw someone with a phone and a picture on it. They then would draw something and allow them to get into the phone. Is there someway to do that with Windows?

Yes Windows has the ability to use a picture as a password. If you have Windows 8 or higher the ability to specify using a picture as an alternative password is easy to implement.

You go into the Settings, Accounts, Sign-In options and there you can change your regular password, PIN code as an alternative password, and a Picture Password. You must know the current password to access this function.

Simply chose a picture and then three gestures on the picture. These can be TAPS, circles, lines, and more. You will need to test the gestures to verify and then the next time you log in you can use the picture as the way to "enter" your password.

Some people think this is not a very secure way to allow access to your computer. Similar to using "password" as your "password.

I like it.

And you do not need a touch screen to use this technique. Your mouse can be used to enter the gestures.

Read on our web site the articles about the security concerns.