Monday, September 29, 2014

MCTS 70-680 Practice Questions - Windows 7 Configuring

Free practice questions for the MCTS Windows 7 Configuring exam: 70-680. This video includes 5 sample questions but users can visit our site for the full online practice test for MCTS 70-680.

Monday, September 8, 2014

MCTS 70-680 Windows 7 Remote Assistance/Desktop

This video will look at Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop. Remote Assistance is designed to provide help to the user in the same way that they would get help from someone if the person were looking over their shoulder so to speak. Remote Desktop is designed to allow a user to take complete control of their P.C. from remote. For example they could access their computer from home.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Windows 8.1 and XP Market Share Falls While Windows 7 Gains Users

Windows XP is no longer supported, and according to the latest statistics from Net market share, it seems some people are moving to other operating systems as a result. However, unfortunately for Microsoft, many people are moving away from XP, while Windows 8.1 actively dodge. They are probably also waiting for Windows 9, which could be released as early as 2015.

For the month of July, Windows 8.1’s desktop market share stood at 6.56 percent. That's a smaller decline of 6.61 percent in June but down nonetheless. Meanwhile, the share of Windows 8 was reduced from 5.93 percent in June to 5.92 percent last month, a small tiny 0.01 percent decrease. Combined, Windows 8 and 8.1 occupy 12.48 percent of the pie desktop operating system from July. That's not much, considering that Windows XP takes almost twice that despite the fact that it is over 10 years old.

Speaking of Windows XP, although still very popular, some PC users are left there last month. I share the desktop of Windows XP decreased from 25.31 percent in June to 24.82 percent last month. However, that does not necessarily mean that the decline will continue unabated. After all, Windows XP share actually increased in June, up from 25.27 in May.

Then there is the big cheese, the head honcho, the big kahuna; Windows 7. Installment of Windows 7 in July soared to 51.22 percent. That's up 50.55 percent in June, representing an increase of 0.67 percent.

For us, the reasons for the continued dominance of Windows XP and Windows 7 over 8 and 8.1 are simple. The first two operating systems have a Start menu and provide a familiar experience for users. Windows 8 and 8.1 do not, through a Metro-market version of the Start menu is likely to return in Windows 9. Then, of course, is the issue of cost. Windows 7 costs the same as it does in Windows 8.1 on Newegg; about $ 100. Most people clearly prefer to use the operating system with a boot menu, even if you are approaching five years old.

Microsoft To End Support For Windows 7 in 2015

Microsoft is warning customers that the end is coming soon for Windows 7 in the same way it came out for Windows XP earlier this year. The company will exit mainstream support for Windows Free 7 on January 13, 2015, but users will still receive security updates until 2020.
  The measure will mainly affect consumers. Companies that pay for extended support for Windows 7, as most of them do, will be supported for five years on 14 January 2020.

That's important because many companies are currently in the process of upgrading their old PCs with Windows XP, but are moving to Windows 7, Windows 8 does.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Top 10 Windows 8 Questions Everyone Asks

You’ve finally made the leap to Windows 8 (or, more probably, Windows 8.1), and a pretty big leap it was. Everything looks different. Everything acts differently. Even a simple task like shutting down your PC suddenly becomes a challenge.

We know. We've lived through Windows 8, too, and we've received many, many questions about it. Here are the 10 most common ones we hear about Microsoft’s latest operating system. With these answers under your belt, you can consider yourself well past the beginner stage.

1. What's the differences between Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and the Windows 8.1 Update?

To start the confusion, there are three versions of Windows 8:
· The original Windows 8
· The much-improved Windows 8.1
· The even-better Windows 8.1 Update, though saddled with an idiotic name

windows 8 top10 questions start button and none
The Start button is one subtle, but key, difference between Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

How do you tell which you have? Go to the Desktop environment and look in the lower-left corner. If there’s no Start button, you’ve got the original Windows 8.
If there's a Start button, click or tap it to go to the Start screen. Look in the upper-right corner. If there's a magnifying-glass icon, you have Windows 8.1 Update.
If you have the Start button, but not the magnifying glass, you have Windows 8.1, without the Update. In that case, you need update KB2919355. Microsoft is patching Windows 8 and the Windows 8.1 Update, but not Windows 8.1 without the Update. Without patches, Windows becomes less secure.

 The magnifying-glass icon means you have Windows 8.1 Update.

Besides, the Windows 8.1 Update is by far the easiest and friendliest version of Windows 8 so far. Finally, the two user interfaces—Modern and Desktop—appear to be cooperating.
The good news: If you have a new computer, it’s almost certainly running Windows 8.1 with the Update.

2. What about the Start menu?

windows 8 top10 questions start menu classic start menu setup
Classic Shell brings back the Start menu that Windows 8 took away.

From the very birth of Windows 8, this was the biggest complaint: “Where’s the Start menu?” 
Even with the improvements of 8.1 and the 8.1 Update, which brought back the Start button, there’s still no Start menu.

windows 8 top10 questions start menu separate programs and apps
There you go, a Windows Start menu, courtesy of Classic Shell.

One could argue that the Start screen—which is what you get when you click the 8.1 Start button—can do everything that the Start menu can. Except that it can’t. You can’t hover the mouse over a Modern tile and get a submenu of files recently opened in that application. And the Start screen just doesn’t feel right. When you’re working in a windowing environment like the Desktop, you don’t want to be thrown into a bad-imitation iPad just to launch a program.

Luckily, where Microsoft fails, others provide. You can find plenty of third-party Start menus for Windows 8, and many of them are free.

My favorite, Classic Shell, is one of the free ones. It’s capable of giving you, with no trouble at all, a close facsimile to the Windows 7 Start menu. But you can change that look with additional skins, add separate Programs and Apps menus in place of the traditional All Programs, and pick an image for the Start button. You can also control what happens when you left-click and shift-click the Start button.

3. What’s that screen with all the little tiles?

You may have stumbled upon it accidentally. You’re at the Start screen, you do something (you’re not sure what), and suddenly you have a screen filled with tiny tiles instead of big tiles.
That’s the Apps screen, which Microsoft added with Windows 8.1. It lists every program and app installed on your PC. Think of it as the equivalent of the Windows 7 Start Menu’s All Programs submenu. Or Android’s All Apps screen.

windows 8 top10 questions  apps screen
This is the Windows 8 Apps screen. It looks busy, but it's actually easy to sort.

You get to it through the Start screen. If you’re using a touchscreen, swipe up. If you’re using a mouse, move that mouse, and a little arrow icon will appear near the lower left corner of the screen. Click it.
Unlike Windows 7’s All Programs, you can sort this list. The default is to sort by name, but you can also sort by date installed, most used (which makes it a bit like the Windows 7 Start menu’s left pane), and category. Note, however, that it lacks All Program’s ability to use submenus.
One other important point: If you sort by name or category, it lists apps first, and traditional desktop programs after them.

4. How do I do some of the simple tasks that should be obvious to anyone?

The Windows 8 learning curve isn’t just about the big stuff. Here are three minor issues that vex new users.

Right-click in a touch interface

Your index finger lacks left and right buttons, and the touchscreen doesn’t know one finger from another.
To bring up a context menu on a touchscreen, touch the object and keep your finger there until a square appears around the object. Then release, and the menu will pop up.

windows 8 top10 questions simple tasks search charm
Find anything in Windows using the Search charm.


Windows 8’s equivalent to Windows 7’s “Search programs and files” field is the Search charm. There are a lot of ways to bring it up, so I’ll just give you the most convenient:
· On the desktop, press Winkey-S.
· On the home screen, just start typing.

Sleep or shut down Windows

windows 8 top10 questions  simple tasks shut down desktop
Here's the menu for shutting down Windows.

This is the one that puzzled a lot of people when Windows 8 first came out.
On the Home screen, swipe from the right edge inward, or move the mouse pointer to the right-top or right-bottom corner and then off the right edge of the screen. Select Settings>Power, and make the appropriate choice.
On the desktop, right-click or touch-and-hold the Start button. From the resulting menu, select Shut down or sign out and the appropriate option. This trick requires Windows 8.1.

5. What’s happened to Windows Explorer?

Windows’ built-in file manager got a facelift and a new name, and both are an improvement (I thought so even when I hated Windows 8).

windows 8 top10 questions windows explorer file explorer minimize ribbon
File Explorer has tabbed ribbons you can hide.

Windows Explorer is now called File Explorer. While I usually don’t approve of renaming common features in a popular OS, I’ll make an exception here: It actually describes what the program does.
It also now sports Office-like tabbed ribbons, which you can show and hide by clicking the little chevron icon just below the top-right corner. The main ribbons are self-explanatory: Home, Share, View, and Search.

windows 8 top10 questions windows explorer file explorer picture library
In the new File Explorer, the Pictures Library has new tabs and ribbons available.

Other ribbons pop up when appropriate. For instance, go to the Pictures library, and you’ll see additional Library and Picture tabs. You’ll also see the Pictures tab when you’ve selected a picture.

windows 8 top10 questions windows explorer copy two files
You can monitor two files as they copy.

You can configure the interface. Right-click any option on any ribbon and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar. That toolbar is always available, even when you’ve hidden the ribbon.
One more nice touch: Copy a big file to another drive. The familiar dialog box comes up to show you the progress. While it’s still going, start copying another big file. The existing dialog box will expand and show you progress on both files.

6. Where are my libraries?

Now that you’ve found File Explorer, you might notice something is missing. The left pane lists Favorites, This PC (the location formerly known as My Computer), and Network. But it apparently doesn’t have Libraries.
Libraries—configurable pointers to Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos—help you organize your data files. They’re one of the best features added with Windows 7.

windows 8 top10 questions where are my libraries
The libraries aren't gone! You can dig them out.

For instance, the Documents library by default contains both the My Documents and Shared Documents folder, and you can add or remove other folders as you wish. The folders aren’t actually in the library, but they appear to be.
The good news: Microsoft didn’t remove libraries; it just hid them. But why?
Probably because the company doesn’t really want you to store data locally. Microsoft would rather you stored everything in its cloud-based service, OneDrive, and pay for that privilege.
If that doesn’t sound like a good plan to you, restore those libraries. In File Explorer, go to the View tab and select Navigation pane>Show libraries.

7. What’s with the Task Manager?

Big improvements. That’s what’s with the Task Manager. Like File Explorer, it’s one of the few things about Windows 8 that Microsoft got right from the start.

windows 8 top10 questions task manager processes
The Task Manager shows computer processes in an easier-to-read format.

You launch it the same way as before: right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager. But when it opens, it looks rather minimalist. All you get is a list of running programs and apps, an End task button, and a More details option.
Click More details.
Now you’ve got most of the information you had in earlier versions, except that it’s well-spaced, clearer, and easier to read. If you explore the various tabs, you’ll find all the information from the Windows 7 version, plus more. For instance, the User column is now on the Details one.
One very useful new tab is Startup, which replaces the Startup tab that used to reside in MSCONFIG. This is the place to go to trim down the list of programs that load automatically when you boot. 

windows 8 top10 questions task manager startup
The Task Manager is less cluttered and offers more information than before.

This version is far easier to read than the old MSCONFIG tab. And it gives more information, including Startup impact—how much each autoloading program slows down the boot.
On the other hand, it lacks checkboxes. To disable an autoloader, right-click Enabled and select Disable. That right-click, by the way, also offers useful options like Open file location and Search online.

8. Where do I find my product ID number?

Every legally-sold copy of Windows comes with a unique, 25-character code that acts as a proof of purchase. If you buy a copy of Windows, the code is printed inside the packaging. If you bought a PC with Windows pre-installed, it’s printed on a label on the computer.
Unless your computer came with Windows 8. With the new OS, Microsoft eliminated the requirement that pre-installed PCs come with their Product ID (PID) numbers visible on the case.

windows 8 top10 questions where is my product key
ProduKey makes it easier to find your Product ID for Windows.

In theory, you don’t need them anymore. A unique, Microsoft-approved PID is built into your computer’s hardware. If you have to reinstall Windows, the installation routine should not ask for your PID; it already has it.
Nevertheless, you may feel uncomfortable not having access to your PID. I know I do. And there is a solution.
NirSoft’s ProduKey will display your PID (and other ID numbers, as well). The program is free, and portable—meaning you don’t have to install it. Once the information is displayed, you can copy it to the clipboard and paste it into another program. Then you can save the file, back it up, or print it and tape the printout to the outside of your computer.

9. How do I switch users?

If you share a computer with someone else, or use separate Administrator and Regular User accounts, you know the routine of switching users.
At least you knew that routine before you took on the challenge of Windows 8. Now it’s entirely different.

windows 8 top10 questions how change accoounts
Switching users works differently in Windows 8.

Once again, Microsoft has changed the terminology. Remember your old options, either to log off or switch users? (Switching users was faster, but leaves the previous account running in the background. Logging off shuts down the previous account entirely.) Now you don’t log off, you sign out. And while you can still switch users, there’s no longer any name for that action.

You’ll find your name, and your picture if you’ve bothered to set one up, in the upper-right corner of theStart screen. Tap or click the name or the picture. To log off, tap or click Sign out. You’ll come to a logon page where you can select an account.To switch users, simply tap the appropriate user name.

10. Do I have to log on with a Microsoft account?

Just as Microsoft really, truly wants you to use OneDrive, they also want you to use a Microsoft account. After all, without one, you can’t use OneDrive.In fact, when you set up Windows 8 for first time, the preparation wizard won’t let you create a local account. You have to create one connected to Microsoft.

windows 8 top10 questions log on with microsoft account
You don't need a Microsoft account to log on; a local-account option is also available.

But you don’t have to keep it that way. Windows 8 has something called a local account, which doesn’t have to be tied with anything on Microsoft’s cloud. You can convert your current account to a local one.
Here’s how:
1. In the Search charm, type account and select Manage your account.
2. On the Accounts screen, select your account, then click Disconnect right below your name and email address.
3. Follow the wizard. You’ll have to enter your current password, then fill in a few fields, including Name and Password. You’ll have to use a new login name, but you can keep the old password.
When you’re done, you’ll see your old settings, programs, and files. But you’ll have a different logon and won’t be connected to Microsoft.

Monday, June 16, 2014

IE11 Patches Blocked Until Windows 7 Users Install KB 2929437

The situation is not as bad as it was (and is) the forced march of the users of Windows 8.1 Update 1, but as Gregg Keizer Computerworld revealed for the first time on Sunday, no patch Microsoft IE11 users to get specific, patch installed before.

Monster Black Tuesday last week patched IE, MS 14-035, appears even Windows machines using Windows Update 8.1 unless users have successfully installed Windows 8.1 Update 1, the infamous KB 2919355. SP1 on Windows 7 machines IE11 In patch this month will not appear until users have installed Windows 7 patch IE11 MS 14-018/KB 2929437.

(Note that Internet Explorer 11 will not run on Windows 8. IE11 If you and / or your review, you must upgrade to Windows 8.1 Update 1. IE11 Also note that patches are available for organizations that use Windows Server Update Services / WSUS Intune or System Center Configuration Manager - see KB 2963950 Only those of us who rely on Windows Update or Microsoft Update to get snubbed) ..
Microsoft has had a patch dependencies first: You will not get until you install Patch Patch B A. In many cases, the attempt to install patches automatically install Patch first BA - no luck here. If you are running Windows 7 SP 1 (or Windows Server 2008 R2) and have not installed MS 14-018/KB 2,929,437, Windows Update does not show MS 14-035/KB Rollup Patch 2957689 this month; . the same for people running Windows 8.1 Update 1 without a large package is then also - designed to fix 59 security flaws identified separately.

Here's what KB 2957689 says:

This update applies only to computers that are running Internet Explorer 11 and that do have update 2919355 (for Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2) or update 2929437 (for Windows 7 SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1) installed. All future security and nonsecurity updates for Internet Explorer 11 require you to have update 2919355 or update 2929437 nstalled in order to receive updates. We recommend that you install update 2919355 or update 2929437 in order to continue to receive updates.

But wait. It gets more convoluted:

For Internet Explorer 11, the security update 2957689 update is for systems with updated or installed update 2929437 2919355. Internet Explorer 11 guests have to make sure that the update 2929437 or update 2919355 is installed before the security update 2957689 can be offered to them or installed.
Note for customers of Internet Explorer 11 does not have the update 2929437 or update 2919355 installed the security update 2963950 can be installed in place of the security update 2957689. However, the security update 2963950 is available only for customers who manage updates using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Microsoft Windows Intune or System Center Configuration Manager.

Got your scorecard handy?

This time around, I don't expect to hear the same hue and cry that accompanied the Windows 8.1 Update 1 straitjacket restrictions, for three reasons
  1. Very few people have reported problems installing MS14-018/KB 2929437. Looking around the Internet, I don't see many intractable problems with the patch. (If you have a counterexample, please post it in the comments!) By contrast, the Microsoft Answers forum erupted with problems installing Windows 8.1 Update 1/KB 2919355 -- and they haven't all been solved yet.
  2. If you have problems with KB 2929437, Internet Explorer 11 is relatively easy to uninstall on Windows 7 systems. For months, I've been waffling about recommending IE11 for Windows 7 users. Now I have a good reason to recommend that Microsoft customers not switch from IE10.
  3. Don't fight, switch. There are lots of good alternatives to IE.
While the forced Windows 8.1 Update 1 restriction hit lots of Windows customers in the solar plexus, this restriction smacks of hubris. Why isn't Windows Update smart enough to line up the installation of prerequisites? Good question.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

How to shut down Windows 8 the easy way: get Windows 8.1 Update

The first version of Windows 8 was notoriously difficult to shut down if you had a PC or laptop, since it was designed to work best with tablets that have a sleep/wake button. Here we show you how to quickly and easily shut down a Windows 8 PC.

If you update - for free - to Windows 8.1 or the latest Windows 8.1 Update, Microsoft has made it considerably easier to shut down, restart or switch users.

In Windows 8.1, you can right-click on the 'Start button' on the traditional desktop. This brings up a menu, which is also accessible by pressing Windows-X, where you have the old Shut down or sign out menu. 

If you prefer using the new Windows interface, you'll benefit from the latest Windows 8.1 Update which adds a power button to the top-right corner of the screen. Click this, and you'll get the similar shut down and restart options.  

There's still the the option to shut down when you open the Charms bar and click Settings, then Power. See also: Windows 8 review.

Shutting down Windows 8: Use your PC's power buttonThere's another way you can shut down a Windows 8 PC or laptop, and it will take you less than 30 seconds to configure:

1 - When on the Start screen, begin typing 'Control panel'. Click it in the list of results which appear. 

2 - In Control Panel's search box, type 'power'. Under Power Options, click 'Change what the power buttons do' 
3 - By default, 'When I press the power button:' is set to Sleep. Simply change this to Shut Down. If you have a laptop, you can choose separate behaviour depending on whether it's running on battery power or connected to the mains. 
Now, instead of using your mouse to shut down your computer, you can quickly press the power button to achieve the same thing.

Of course, if you're happy to leave your PC in sleep mode, you don't need to configure anything at all. Simply get into the habit of pressing your PC's power button instead of using any of the methods above to actually shut down your machine. If you have a laptop, you can merely close the lid to put Windows into sleep mode, but using the steps above you can change what that action does, too.