A little desktop tidiness goes a long way

You may have the habit of putting apps and files that need your immediate attention on your desktop, but not moving them to proper folders when you’re through with them. What you end up with is a mess that makes it hard to find what you need and easy to lose important files forever. Prevent this by following our tips for clearing your desktop.

1. Arrange, sort, and prioritize

Before you delete everything from your desktop, think about what you really want to keep. This will vary from person to person, but most people use their desktop for storing files, folders, and apps that they want to access quickly.

Take the time to sort your files and folders. An easy way to do this is to right-click on an empty area of your desktop (where there are no icons), mouse over on View, and select Auto arrange icons. This will organize your icons into a grid format. Then, right-click on the empty space and hover your mouse over Sort by and select Date modified to arrange the icons by the date they were last opened, with the latest on top.

2. Create a folder for holding files and another for keeping app shortcuts

People often use their desktop to store downloaded files, photos, screenshots, and even email attachments, which can lead to a messy desktop.

However, you don’t need all these on your desktop. Instead, create a folder on your desktop that will serve as your dumping ground for all your nonessential files and folders. If you don’t intend to keep a file, icon, photo, etc. for long, put it in this folder. Revisit this folder every once in a while to delete the files you no longer need.

It also helps if you create a shortcut folder. When you install new programs on Windows, a shortcut icon is often automatically added to your desktop. But these desktop shortcuts should be for frequently used programs only. Create a separate folder for programs that aren’t used that often.

3. Clear out unnecessary files

Once you have your folders set up, it’s time to get rid of the clutter. If you haven’t used a file, folder, etc. in the past two months or so, get rid of it. Examine your desktop and uninstall programs you no longer use. You’ll also want to delete outdated files you no longer need and place the rest in relevant folders.

4. Use the taskbar or Start menu for apps

In Windows 10, you can pin apps to the Start menu and the taskbar. This is a great alternative to having program shortcuts on your desktop. To pin apps, open your apps list (i.e., click the Start button at the bottom-left corner of the screen) and right-click on the application you would like to pin. Select Pin to Start or Pin to taskbar for the option you want.

5. Choose a wallpaper you love looking at

An interesting way to minimize clutter is to pick a wallpaper that you enjoy looking at — whether it’s your favorite motivational quote, a photo of your family, or a picture of your dream house, car, or destination. Having an image you like serves as a reminder to keep icons to a minimum, so if you can’t see the image anymore, then you have too many icons, and it may be time to get rid of a few.

If you are looking to learn more about how to use Windows more effectively, contact us today.

This post was originally published on this site

Windows 10: Boost your PC’s performance with these tips

Windows 10 has a lot of special features that aim to improve your computing experience. Unfortunately, many of these may also slow your PC down, especially if your machine is older or has a low-end processor. We’ve listed four effective tweaks to make your Windows 10 computer faster.

Prevent programs from launching at startup

Windows makes certain programs readily available by loading them at startup. While Microsoft likely has good intentions for doing this, this auto-launch feature slows down your computer. To fix this issue, you’ll need to adjust your settings.

Open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc. On the Startup tab, select a program you don’t want launching at startup — such as a media player or an optional accessory that doesn’t have to be active all the time — then click Disable. To be on the safe side, however, keep essential apps such as antivirus software enabled.

Get rid of useless applications

Having too many programs installed on your computer uses up valuable memory and hard disk space. This slows down your machine and makes it work harder than necessary. Quickly uninstall programs you don’t need by following these steps:

  • Tap the Windows key on your keyboard and type “Add or remove programs” in the search bar. Selecting the first result opens a System settings window.
  • Under Apps & features, you will see all the apps stored on your computer.
  • Select the program/s you no longer want, and click Uninstall.

You’ll then be guided through several steps to complete the uninstallation process.

Organize your disks

It’s important to regularly clean out your computer of data you don’t need. Thankfully, Microsoft’s Disk Cleanup tool makes it easy to do so.

To find the tool, tap on the Windows button on your keyboard and type “Disk Cleanup.” If you click on the first result, the tool will launch and automatically find files that take up too much memory space, such as temporary internet and system memory dump files. Make sure that the checkbox before each option is selected, then click OK to send these files to your Recycle Bin.

Turn off apps running in the background

You may not know it, but there are a lot of programs that run in the background as you use your computer. Even when you’re not actively using them, these apps run in the background so they can receive information, send notifications, and download and install updates. However, they also slow down your CPU. Disabling these apps will reduce the burden on your computer and speed it up.

To find out what programs are running in the background, press the Windows button on your keyboard, type “Background apps,” and hit Enter. Find the programs you don’t need running and toggle the On-Off button.

By following these four steps, you’ll see a noticeable difference in your PC speed. If you want to learn how to optimize your Windows system further or need assistance with other Microsoft products, give us a call.

This post was originally published on this site

Windows 10: Boost your PC’s performance with these tips

Windows 10 has a lot of special features that aim to improve your computing experience. Unfortunately, many of these may also slow your PC down, especially if your machine is older or has a low-end processor. We’ve listed four effective tweaks to make your Windows 10 computer faster.

Prevent programs from launching at startup

Windows makes certain programs readily available by loading them at startup. While Microsoft likely has good intentions for doing this, this auto-launch feature slows down your computer. To fix this issue, you’ll need to adjust your settings.

Open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc. On the Startup tab, select a program you don’t want launching at startup — such as a media player or an optional accessory that doesn’t have to be active all the time — then click Disable. To be on the safe side, however, keep essential apps such as antivirus software enabled.

Get rid of useless applications

Having too many programs installed on your computer uses up valuable memory and hard disk space. This slows down your machine and makes it work harder than necessary. Quickly uninstall programs you don’t need by following these steps:

  • Tap the Windows key on your keyboard and type “Add or remove programs” in the search bar. Selecting the first result opens a System settings window.
  • Under Apps & features, you will see all the apps stored on your computer.
  • Select the program/s you no longer want, and click Uninstall.

You’ll then be guided through several steps to complete the uninstallation process.

Organize your disks

It’s important to regularly clean out your computer of data you don’t need. Thankfully, Microsoft’s Disk Cleanup tool makes it easy to do so.

To find the tool, tap on the Windows button on your keyboard and type “Disk Cleanup.” If you click on the first result, the tool will launch and automatically find files that take up too much memory space, such as temporary internet and system memory dump files. Make sure that the checkbox before each option is selected, then click OK to send these files to your Recycle Bin.

Turn off apps running in the background

You may not know it, but there are a lot of programs that run in the background as you use your computer. Even when you’re not actively using them, these apps run in the background so they can receive information, send notifications, and download and install updates. However, they also slow down your CPU. Disabling these apps will reduce the burden on your computer and speed it up.

To find out what programs are running in the background, press the Windows button on your keyboard, type “Background apps,” and hit Enter. Find the programs you don’t need running and toggle the On-Off button.

By following these four steps, you’ll see a noticeable difference in your PC speed. If you want to learn how to optimize your Windows system further or need assistance with other Microsoft products, give us a call.

This post was originally published on this site

Windows 10 privacy settings you should adjust right now

Default privacy settings on devices usually aren’t very private. Even Windows 10 devices are initially configured to collect information about users, like how and where they use their devices as well as what type of content and data they access. Fortunately, there are ways to lock down your privacy in Windows 10 — just follow these tips.

Turn personalized advertising off

Windows 10 assigns each user an “advertising ID” that is used for ad personalization based on your recent browsing history. If you’d rather see generic ads targeted to you based on demographics rather than your ID, we recommend turning this feature off. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click on the search box at the bottom left of your screen. If your search bar is hidden, right-click the taskbar and select Search > Show search box.
  2. Next, type in “Privacy,” then click on Privacy Settings and select General.
  3. Turn off the option that states “Let apps use advertising ID to make ads more interesting to you based on your app activity.”
  4. Lastly, open your web browser and go to this link. Once there, turn off the “Personalized ads wherever I use my Microsoft account” and “Personalized ads in this browser” options.

Following these steps resets your ad ID, letting you surf the web without targeted advertisements.

Disable Cortana

Voice-controlled digital assistants have become big business. Microsoft aims to capitalize on this market with Cortana, an incredibly resourceful built-in assistant that allows you to quickly set reminders, schedule events, and send emails, among many other intuitive features. However, the way it uses the information it collects can become overbearing at times. Here’s how to disable Cortana:

  1. Type “Task Manager” in the search box, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  2. In Task Manager, click the Startup tab and find Cortana in the list of programs.
  3. Right-click the row and click Disable.
  4. Open the Start menu, then find Cortana under All Apps.
  5. Right-click on Cortana, select More, and click on App settings.
  6. Toggle the switch under “Runs at log-in.”

Once disabled, the Cortana option disappears and you’re now left with just a search bar, which you can use to search for things online or on your desktop.

Stop peer-to-peer file sharing

With peer-to-peer or P2P file sharing enabled, Windows 10 shares downloaded updates to your PC with other Windows 10 users in the same network by default. This helps other users update their systems faster and speeds up your upgrade downloads. However, if you are unhappy with your files being used by other users, you can turn P2P sharing off.

  1. Click the Windows icon and head over to Settings.
  2. Click on Update and Security then choose Delivery Optimization from the sidebar.
  3. Under “Allow downloads from other PCs,” switch the toggle to “Off.”

If you want to share your files with PCs on your in-house network only, leave this option on and select the option that says “PCs on my local network.” For more detailed instructions on how to stop P2P updates, click here.

Blunt Microsoft’s Edge

Microsoft Edge is chock-full of features — such as Cortana Integration and typing prediction — that send data back to Microsoft. To turn off these intrusive functionalities, open Edge and click on the three dots in the far right corner.

Then, click on Settings > Cookies and site permissions. There you have the option to disable a bunch of settings, such as those related to ads, automatic downloads, and location sharing.

These simple security tips will stop Microsoft from tracking your online activities for good. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for all matters security-related.

This post was originally published on this site

Windows 10 privacy settings you should adjust right now

Default privacy settings on devices usually aren’t very private. Even Windows 10 devices are initially configured to collect information about users, like how and where they use their devices as well as what type of content and data they access. Fortunately, there are ways to lock down your privacy in Windows 10 — just follow these tips.

Turn personalized advertising off

Windows 10 assigns each user an “advertising ID” that is used for ad personalization based on your recent browsing history. If you’d rather see generic ads targeted to you based on demographics rather than your ID, we recommend turning this feature off. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click on the search box at the bottom left of your screen. If your search bar is hidden, right-click the taskbar and select Search > Show search box.
  2. Next, type in “Privacy,” then click on Privacy Settings and select General.
  3. Turn off the option that states “Let apps use advertising ID to make ads more interesting to you based on your app activity.”
  4. Lastly, open your web browser and go to this link. Once there, turn off the “Personalized ads wherever I use my Microsoft account” and “Personalized ads in this browser” options.

Following these steps resets your ad ID, letting you surf the web without targeted advertisements.

Disable Cortana

Voice-controlled digital assistants have become big business. Microsoft aims to capitalize on this market with Cortana, an incredibly resourceful built-in assistant that allows you to quickly set reminders, schedule events, and send emails, among many other intuitive features. However, the way it uses the information it collects can become overbearing at times. Here’s how to disable Cortana:

  1. Type “Task Manager” in the search box, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  2. In Task Manager, click the Startup tab and find Cortana in the list of programs.
  3. Right-click the row and click Disable.
  4. Open the Start menu, then find Cortana under All Apps.
  5. Right-click on Cortana, select More, and click on App settings.
  6. Toggle the switch under “Runs at log-in.”

Once disabled, the Cortana option disappears and you’re now left with just a search bar, which you can use to search for things online or on your desktop.

Stop peer-to-peer file sharing

With peer-to-peer or P2P file sharing enabled, Windows 10 shares downloaded updates to your PC with other Windows 10 users in the same network by default. This helps other users update their systems faster and speeds up your upgrade downloads. However, if you are unhappy with your files being used by other users, you can turn P2P sharing off.

  1. Click the Windows icon and head over to Settings.
  2. Click on Update and Security then choose Delivery Optimization from the sidebar.
  3. Under “Allow downloads from other PCs,” switch the toggle to “Off.”

If you want to share your files with PCs on your in-house network only, leave this option on and select the option that says “PCs on my local network.” For more detailed instructions on how to stop P2P updates, click here.

Blunt Microsoft’s Edge

Microsoft Edge is chock-full of features — such as Cortana Integration and typing prediction — that send data back to Microsoft. To turn off these intrusive functionalities, open Edge and click on the three dots in the far right corner.

Then, click on Settings > Cookies and site permissions. There you have the option to disable a bunch of settings, such as those related to ads, automatic downloads, and location sharing.

These simple security tips will stop Microsoft from tracking your online activities for good. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for all matters security-related.

This post was originally published on this site

Easy steps to remove bloatware from your Windows 10 computer

Laptop buyers are always seeking the most efficient and most user-friendly devices. So it came as a bit of a shock when the highly acclaimed Windows 10 operating system was found to be riddled with bloatware — unwanted pre-installed software that takes up space and computer memory.

New PCs and laptops are always fun to unpack, especially since Microsoft continuously optimizes its software’s user experience to make it engaging right from the start. But so many users are dismayed to find out that after the great time they had setting up their computers, they’ll tend to have a not-so-fun experience of dealing with bloatware.

The term “bloatware” refers to software and apps that are preloaded into computers even if the user doesn’t want them. These apps tend to take up storage space, consume processing power, and be quite a headache to remove.

Bloatware has long been a scourge of mobile devices, particularly those that run on Android operating systems. But these days, even laptops are no longer exempt from such nuisances — software giant Microsoft has packaged its Windows 10 operating system to come with preinstalled apps that most users won’t even give a second glance to. Some of the worst offenders are as follows:

  • 3D Viewer (previously called Mixed Reality Viewer)
  • Candy Crush
  • Cooking Fever
  • Disney Magic Kingdoms
  • Groove Music
  • Movies & TV
  • Paint 3D
  • Snip & Sketch
  • Sticky Notes
  • Voice Recorder

While many of these programs are pleasant add-ons for those who find value in them, many users prefer to start with a leaner operating system due to storage space and processing power concerns. If they want a particular software program, they prefer to download it themselves. This gives them greater control over their machines and their hardware and software experience.

What’s worse is that bloatware can also cause critical vulnerabilities. The most ironic example of this was a pre-installed version of Keeper Password Manager. Instead of keeping passwords safe, it allowed malicious people behind any website to steal passwords. While Windows 10 users needed to enable Keeper to store their passwords for them to become vulnerable, it makes you wonder why such a flawed password manager app is there in the first place.

How to rid your device of bloatware

Removing inclusions you did not ask for is a hassle in and of itself, but thankfully, the process is not too tedious.

  1. Click the Start menu, then the gear icon.
  2. In the Settings window, select Update & Security.
  3. On the left-hand side, click Recovery.
  4. Select Reset this PC.
  5. Click Get Started.
  6. Select Keep my files and then choose where you wish to store them.
  7. Lastly, set “Restore preinstalled apps?” to “No.”

Bloatware not only clutters your laptops and PCs, but it can render your business vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches as well. Save yourself from tons of headaches down the line; learn more about protecting your computers from bloatware. Call our team of IT experts today!

This post was originally published on this site

Easy steps to remove bloatware from your Windows 10 computer

Laptop buyers are always seeking the most efficient and most user-friendly devices. So it came as a bit of a shock when the highly acclaimed Windows 10 operating system was found to be riddled with bloatware — unwanted pre-installed software that takes up space and computer memory.

New PCs and laptops are always fun to unpack, especially since Microsoft continuously optimizes its software’s user experience to make it engaging right from the start. But so many users are dismayed to find out that after the great time they had setting up their computers, they’ll tend to have a not-so-fun experience of dealing with bloatware.

The term “bloatware” refers to software and apps that are preloaded into computers even if the user doesn’t want them. These apps tend to take up storage space, consume processing power, and be quite a headache to remove.

Bloatware has long been a scourge of mobile devices, particularly those that run on Android operating systems. But these days, even laptops are no longer exempt from such nuisances — software giant Microsoft has packaged its Windows 10 operating system to come with preinstalled apps that most users won’t even give a second glance to. Some of the worst offenders are as follows:

  • 3D Viewer (previously called Mixed Reality Viewer)
  • Candy Crush
  • Cooking Fever
  • Disney Magic Kingdoms
  • Groove Music
  • Movies & TV
  • Paint 3D
  • Snip & Sketch
  • Sticky Notes
  • Voice Recorder

While many of these programs are pleasant add-ons for those who find value in them, many users prefer to start with a leaner operating system due to storage space and processing power concerns. If they want a particular software program, they prefer to download it themselves. This gives them greater control over their machines and their hardware and software experience.

What’s worse is that bloatware can also cause critical vulnerabilities. The most ironic example of this was a pre-installed version of Keeper Password Manager. Instead of keeping passwords safe, it allowed malicious people behind any website to steal passwords. While Windows 10 users needed to enable Keeper to store their passwords for them to become vulnerable, it makes you wonder why such a flawed password manager app is there in the first place.

How to rid your device of bloatware

Removing inclusions you did not ask for is a hassle in and of itself, but thankfully, the process is not too tedious.

  1. Click the Start menu, then the gear icon.
  2. In the Settings window, select Update & Security.
  3. On the left-hand side, click Recovery.
  4. Select Reset this PC.
  5. Click Get Started.
  6. Select Keep my files and then choose where you wish to store them.
  7. Lastly, set “Restore preinstalled apps?” to “No.”

Bloatware not only clutters your laptops and PCs, but it can render your business vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches as well. Save yourself from tons of headaches down the line; learn more about protecting your computers from bloatware. Call our team of IT experts today!

This post was originally published on this site

File Explorer without ads: A quick guide

You will see notifications and ads on Windows, regardless of the version you’re using. Some users don’t mind them, but others do. Even on File Explorer, you will see ads. You’ve probably wondered if there’s any way to remove them. We’ve got some good news for you: there is.

Why are users getting these ads?

Ads are being displayed in different parts of Windows 10 and not just on File Explorer — the Start menu, on the lock screen, from the taskbar, and in other Microsoft apps. Microsoft has been displaying ads that promote Office 365 and OneDrive since the Creators Update. Overwhelming negative reactions to this practice have been popping up online as a result.

However, the company doesn’t consider them ads but “suggestions.” These suggestions promote Microsoft products and services and third-party apps in the Windows Store. The tech giant may be doing users a favor by reminding them they can easily grab apps in the store that can benefit them. But to many, ads are more of a nuisance than a favor.

How do I turn off ads?

Fortunately, there’s a simple way to turn ads off. You could disable them right now by doing the following:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Select View from the ribbon along the top of any File Explorer window.
  3. Click Options on the far right-hand side.
  4. From the drop down arrow below Options, select Change folder and search options.
  5. Once in the Folder options window, go to the View tab.
  6. In the Advanced Settings window pane, scroll down and deselect “Show sync provider notifications”.
  7. Click Apply and close the Folder Options window.

That’s all it takes! Keep in mind that we highly recommend the services Microsoft suggests. Office 365, OneDrive, and others are all great cloud platforms for easily and securely working and collaborating from any device in any location — but we understand that some don’t want to see these ads when they’re hunting down sales records.

If you’re looking for Windows tips and tricks, this is the best blog on the web. If you’re looking for something a little more advanced, however, our managed services are second to none. Get in touch with us today to learn more!

This post was originally published on this site

File Explorer without ads: A quick guide

You will see notifications and ads on Windows, regardless of the version you’re using. Some users don’t mind them, but others do. Even on File Explorer, you will see ads. You’ve probably wondered if there’s any way to remove them. We’ve got some good news for you: there is.

Why are users getting these ads?

Ads are being displayed in different parts of Windows 10 and not just on File Explorer — the Start menu, on the lock screen, from the taskbar, and in other Microsoft apps. Microsoft has been displaying ads that promote Office 365 and OneDrive since the Creators Update. Overwhelming negative reactions to this practice have been popping up online as a result.

However, the company doesn’t consider them ads but “suggestions.” These suggestions promote Microsoft products and services and third-party apps in the Windows Store. The tech giant may be doing users a favor by reminding them they can easily grab apps in the store that can benefit them. But to many, ads are more of a nuisance than a favor.

How do I turn off ads?

Fortunately, there’s a simple way to turn ads off. You could disable them right now by doing the following:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Select View from the ribbon along the top of any File Explorer window.
  3. Click Options on the far right-hand side.
  4. From the drop down arrow below Options, select Change folder and search options.
  5. Once in the Folder options window, go to the View tab.
  6. In the Advanced Settings window pane, scroll down and deselect “Show sync provider notifications”.
  7. Click Apply and close the Folder Options window.

That’s all it takes! Keep in mind that we highly recommend the services Microsoft suggests. Office 365, OneDrive, and others are all great cloud platforms for easily and securely working and collaborating from any device in any location — but we understand that some don’t want to see these ads when they’re hunting down sales records.

If you’re looking for Windows tips and tricks, this is the best blog on the web. If you’re looking for something a little more advanced, however, our managed services are second to none. Get in touch with us today to learn more!

This post was originally published on this site

Handy tips to declutter your Windows 10 PC

If your computer is cluttered with unused apps, error logs, and bloatware, it’s not going to run optimally. This, in turn, could slow you down at work and bring down your productivity. Fortunately, decluttering your computer is easy — just follow these tips.

5 Types of PC clutter

There are five types of clutter that may be causing your Windows 10 computer to run more slowly than it should.

  • Windows updates – This includes failed update downloads. While Windows will delete some of these corrupted and unusable files, others will hang around your computer forever if you don’t look for and delete them.
  • Registry bloat – This type of PC clutter includes files and applications you’ve deleted as well as every action performed in Windows, which is recorded in your computer’s registry.
  • Error logs – These are log files kept by Windows whenever software in your system crashes or encounters errors in processing. Just like registry bloat, error logs accumulate in your computer over time, slowing it down considerably.
  • User bloat – This refers to large numbers of your files, especially if they’re unorganized.
  • Bloatware – This refers to unwanted preinstalled software such as trial versions of antivirus programs, games, and the like. Bloatware takes up plenty of space in your computer’s central processing unit, random access memory, and storage. What’s more, it poses a raft of security risks; for instance, it can introduce apps designed to exploit personal information stored in computers.

How to remove PC clutter

To remove these five types of clutter and optimize your PC’s performance, try these methods:

Run Disk Cleanup
Windows has a built-in tool called Disk Cleanup that removes hidden junk files. To run this tool, type “disk cleanup” in the search box on the taskbar, and select Disk Cleanup from the results. Pick the drive you want to clean, then click OK. Under “Files to delete,” select the file types you want to get rid of, then click OK.

Delete programs you don’t use or need
Free up memory and storage space by removing unused and redundant programs that you rarely use or don’t need. To do this, type “add or remove programs” in the search box on the taskbar, and select Add or remove programs from the results. Click on the files you’d like to remove, then click Uninstall.

If necessary: Refresh Windows 10
You can start fresh with a clean and up-to-date Windows 10 installation to get rid of clutter. This option will remove most installed apps (e.g., Microsoft Office, antivirus software, etc.) but it will keep your personal files and some Windows settings. However, it’s still best to back up your files before installing a fresh version of Windows 10.

To do this, type “recovery” in the search box on the taskbar and select Recovery Options. Under “More recovery options,” click Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows. Click Yes in the pop-up window that says, “Did you mean to switch apps? Settings is trying to open Windows Security.” This will launch the Windows Security app where you can click Get started to begin the Windows refresh process.

These are just some of the ways you can enhance your Windows 10 PC’s performance and get the most out of it. For more useful Windows tips, give our experts a call today.

This post was originally published on this site