Although the latest version of Windows 10 isn’t a “game changer” you should appreciate some of its newer options and enhancements like the new Start Menu, OneDrive, Action Center, Cortana and ability for it to adjust its interface according to the device you use. Read on to get up to speed with Windows 10.
Before we begin, it’s important to note a few things: Be sure to sign in with your Microsoft ID when you first set up Windows 10. This way you can sync settings across all your devices.
You’ll also see a change in terminology from Windows 8. All applications are now referred to as Windows apps as opposed to Metro, Modern or Windows Store apps. However, the term Universal app is still used to designate the ability to use an application across all your devices (desktop, tablet or smartphone).
Let’s Start with the Start Menu: Windows retired the cumbersome Charms Bar and brought back the much-loved Start Menu. The Start Menu is where you go to operate everything in Windows 10. You remember how to do this, right? Go to the lower left of your screen to bring up the Start Menu. You’ll see that it’s now separated into sections. Plus, it’s more customizable than ever before – change from partial view to full view, customize the color, pin and unpin tiles and more.
Put your cursor over the top edge of the Start Menu and drag it up or down to enlarge or reduce it. You can also click “Resize” and select the options for Small, Medium or Large. Rename a group by clicking it and keying in the name you prefer. You can also do this with your unnamed groups. Try combining groups, dragging one to another, or creating a new group by dragging a tile to a blank area.
If you want to remove a tile, select “Unpin from Start,” and the tile will disappear. To expand the start menu from three to four columns, go to Settings>Personalization>Start, click “Show more Tiles” and set this to “On”.
The Settings page offers you other options to personalize your Start Menu. Here are a few more popular ones:
As you can see, there are many ways to customize the Start Menu.
All Apps: With this option, you can view all the applications that you use the most. When you “right click” on it, Windows 10 brings up the files you’ve recently opened. Go to the top left of your screen to open the three horizontal lines (the “hamburger” menu). Here you’ll see all the Windows apps in alphabetical order. Some may appear as a folder with a down arrow showing that there are a number of options for this particular app. Simply click on what you want to use. To uninstall an app, open the Start Menu, go to Settings>System, select the app, and click the “Uninstall” button that pops up. Note: Some Windows apps like Weather and Mail can’t be uninstalled.
Account: Go to this set of stacked icons at the bottom left of your screen. Here you can access your user account to sign in and out of Windows, change your account settings or lock your computer.
File Explorer, Settings, Power: At the bottom left of your screen you’ll find File Explorer, the file-browsing app previously referred to as Windows Explorer. Here you’ll also find the Windows Settings app with your System, Devices, Network & Internet, Personalization, Accounts, Time & Language, Ease of Access, Privacy, and Update & Security settings. Located here as well is the Power app where you can shut down, restart or put your computer to sleep.
Life at a Glance, Play and Explore, Unnamed and Live Apps: The tiles for your Windows desktop applications are grouped into these categories. As you install new apps, they will go into the unnamed group. If you use the Enterprise Edition of Windows 10, your IT professional may have configured other groupings that appear on the right side of the Start Menu. Live apps are the ones where you’ll find real-time data like Mail, Weather, and News. Live tiles contain Windows apps but not desktop applications. Go to “Turn live tile off” if you want to stop real-time information from streaming into the tile. If it’s already off, you can choose “Turn live tile on”.
OneDrive: Windows 10 automatically comes with OneDrive cloud storage. The setup is easy, and you should definitely take advantage of it. If you’re using the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, OneDrive Files On-Demand allows you to access your OneDrive files from all your devices.
Windows Apps: Previously, Windows apps could only be run from the Start Menu and not from the desktop. You could use multiple Windows apps in separate windows on your desktop along with your desktop applications, but this was very limiting. Now you can minimize, close or resize your Windows apps just like you do with your desktop applications, and you can more easily access all the features in your Windows apps. On the bottom or left of the app are icons you can choose from, and you can customize these to your liking. For example, you’ll probably want to customize your Mail app to add accounts, select a type of mail account, combine mail from different accounts into one inbox, and much more.
Using a Tablet or 2-in-1: A new feature called Continuum detects the type of device you’re using and automatically adjusts the interface to suit it. For example, if you’re using a tablet with an attached keyboard, Continuum uses the desktop interface. When you disconnect the keyboard, it will ask you if you want to use Tablet Mode. Just click “yes” or click “Remember my response and don’t ask again” and Continuum will automatically switch to the right interface.
The Tablet mode in Windows 10 utilizes the touch and swipe gestures you’re familiar with. In the Start screen containing your apps, you’ll see six icons – three at the top and three at the bottom. The three at the bottom contains your user account, the Settings App, and the Power Icon. If you want, use the hamburger menu at the top to turn the screen black so the six icons contain text tables. Below this, you can tap the “Pinned Tiles” icon to fill your screen with tiles (the default interface). Or tap the “All Apps” to get a full-screen view of your Windows apps and desktop applications to quickly view and scroll to the ones you want. Interestingly, you will now need to scroll vertically rather than horizontally as you did before, but this is a minor inconvenience.
The Action Center: The Action Center displays notifications such as new emails, maintenance and security reminders, and news settings. You can launch it in one of three ways:
The notifications will appear on the lower right and disappear on their own. You can adjust how many notifications are visible at once by going to the Action Center for any app. Three is the default Microsoft sets.
Many people find them useful, but if they bother or distract you, simply turn them off. Tap the notification and it will take you to the Task Manager where you can turn it off. (They will still be in the Action Center if you want to refer to them later.) You may want to keep the security and maintenance notifications on, so you remember to take necessary actions. Visit the Action Center – it’s pretty self-explanatory.
My People: This was introduced in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. With My People you can you pin your preferred contacts in the Windows taskbar, and quickly communicate with them without opening another application. To get going, click the My People button on the right side of the taskbar, and a Get Started button will pop up. Click this and the people you contact the most will appear. Pin them to the taskbar, or to add others, click “Find and Pin Contacts”. You can also scroll through communications and see all the messages you’ve exchanged, even your Skype video chats and instant messages.
The Edge Browser: Internet Explorer has been replaced as the default with the Edge Browser. Why? Because it’s considerably faster, safer, cleaner-looking and easier to use. In “Reading View”, everything you don’t need is stripped off the page, including advertisements, sidebars, and other distractions. You can use the annotation tool (it looks like a pencil and paper) and note anything you want to share. Simply select how you want to share it and follow the instructions – the Edge Browser will handle the rest. Even better, when using the Edge Browser, Cortana can pop up and alert you with details you’re looking for.
Speaking of Cortana: Cortana is a digital assistant that can search and help you find whatever you need on the Internet or on your computer. It’s set to turn on automatically when you start Windows 10. When you need help, type your question in the box to the lower left of your screen next to the Start button and Cortana will get to work for you. If you want to use Cortana’s voice assistant, go to your Settings menu to “Talk to Cortana” and in the section marked “Hey Cortana” turn the switch to “On”. After you do this, just say “Hey Cortana” and ask your question. You can use Cortana to browse, find files in your PC, and to locate various apps and settings.
Remember – technology works at its best when you know how to use it. The more you know about Windows 10, the better it’ll serve you on a daily basis. Be sure to put these 12 tips into practice the next time you start up your PC.
There are few things worse than feeling trapped in an unfulfilling relationship – especially when it’s a vital business relationship.
Technology is an integral part of everything your business does, which raises a few important questions about your current IT set up. For starters, what is your relationship like with your technology systems – rock solid, or more than a little rocky?
How about with your technology service provider – are they always there for you when you need them the most? Do you still love your technology service provider the same way that you did the day you first met? Does your relationship with them still make you happy, and leave you feeling confident and supported in everything your business does? Can you count on them to help you reach your goals and achieve your dreams for the future?
One last question – has your passion for your network faded, leaving you frustrated, disappointed, and longing for happier times? If the answer is yes, then we have some good news for you… Your IT cupid is here to help you get back that lovin’ feeling. Let Parkway Tech rekindle your passion for your business technology. Something that is such a core part of your daily life shouldn’t be a constant drag on your mood, your productivity, and your success.
You deserve better. You deserve a technology company who puts you first and treats you like you’re special. IT and IT support are in no way one-size-fits-all. Your technology infrastructure should be as unique as your individual business, and tailored to meet your specific needs. Everything from the software you use to the way your data backup system is configured should take into account the way your company operates, and what your employees need to have access to in order to be effective and efficient.
A cookie-cutter IT infrastructure can’t help your business grow and thrive. If your IT company can’t or won’t treat you like you’re not just another client, it’s time to look for someone who will be more than happy to treat you right.
If you’ve stopped feeling that spark from your tech support when you pick up the phone and call them, it’s a surefire sign that the relationship is no longer working for you. Dreading making a call to the help desk because you know that you’re going to, at best, get an apathetic response from the person on the other end of the line is not a good feeling. This is a company you’re trusting with your business’ most valuable assets, and if they can’t make your needs a priority? That’s a serious problem.
What happens when something goes seriously wrong, and you know that your emergency is going to be treated like just another service ticket? What could possibly be a worse feeling than that?
It’s time to put your foot down and stop being taken for granted by IT companies who have become complacent, thinking that you will always be there for them to come to when they feel like it. You can’t afford to be kept waiting each and every time you need something from your IT provider, and you can’t afford to leave your technology in the hands of someone who isn’t interested in helping you get the most out of your IT. Technology is evolving fast, and having someone there to help you take advantage of innovative solutions can make all the difference to your business’ future success.
Like any good relationship, your IT provider shouldn’t only pay you attention when there is something broken that needs to be fixed. They should want to spend time with you and work on building a solid, trusting rapport with you and your staff. They should want to take the time to learn what your business’ goals and values are, and connect with you without you always needing to be the one who makes the first move.
No relationship should ever be one-sided. If you’re doing all the work, then what’s the point of keeping that IT company in your life? If they’re not giving you everything you need and more, it’s time to let go, move on, and find someone who deserves your business.
Here’s our number: (336) 310-9888. Whenever you’re ready to chat with us, give us a call. We’d love to sit down with you, get to know your business better, and find out what we can do to help you get the most out of your current technology and future technology investments. We want to help you reach your business goals, and offer the best possible service to your customers.
And of course, you’re welcome to ask us anything you’d like to know about who we are, what our values are, and what we have to offer. We’re an open book.
Ready to set up that first date and talk technology with a team of professionals who truly care about your business? Give Parkway Tech a call at (336) 310-9888 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
A recent study revealed that 94% of business’ marketing budgets are spent trying to get consumers to call. If businesses are paying so much of their advertising and marketing budget on a communications system, shouldn’t it be reliable and efficient?
This need for a more reliable form of communication is forcing many businesses to make the transition from the landline to the VoIP. However, this transition can be a scary process. How are you supposed to make this transition while running your business? A lapse in phone service means a loss of communication with your customers, which could mean a loss of profit.
The move to VoIP offers your business improvements in efficiency, reliability, and quality, all at an affordable cost. Landline phones are becoming obsolete – by choosing to remain with a landline system, your business may become obsolete as well.
VoIP provides your business improved efficiency by limiting issues that come from having to replace or fix phones, as well as complicated management of adding and or removing employees. On traditional landline phone systems, you would have to wait lengthy periods of time for a phone to be replaced, or for a roll truck to fix issues. All this time spent waiting for a fix costs you money.
With a VoIP system, you don’t have to deal with these issues, which means less downtime. VoIP also improves your business’ efficiency by providing you with numerous options for routing and answering calls, without the expensive on-premises technology and staff.
VoIP provides your business improved reliability by delivering a clear, seamless quality of phone service. This service can run on multiple internet connections, and can even extend to your smartphone. VoIP can work reliably through anything that mother nature may throw at you from hurricanes to snowstorms. Additionally, if you lose your business due to a fire, your VoIP phone service will still work. This is one of the main reasons why there are now over 288 million VoIP users.
VoIP provides your business improved quality through clarity of your calls. These calls come with a digital readout display, and the option to work without a headset. For those that still wish to use a headset, they can receive their calls through the use of a “softphone”, which is software that allows users to make telephone calls through the internet on their computers.
VoIP saves your business 40-80% compared to the cost of traditional landline phone service. Landlines now cost more than VoIP phone systems both in the initial setup, as well as in ongoing contracts. For example, landlines for five employees cost an average of $563/month, while VoIP services for the same amount of users costs only an average of $27.95/month.
Years ago, VoIP systems would cost $10-$50/month, after the cost of the headset (which usually cost $200 each). It’s easy to see how quickly this can add up. Today, VoIP comes at affordable rates as low as $0. Phones will be set up ahead of time, that way there is no lapse in your communication with your clients. This saves your business money by limiting the loss of contact, during this time of transition. Secondly, there is a “Proof of Concept” (POC), which allows you to have your phones in place, and try them out before deciding whether they’re right for your business.
So how do you transition from traditional landline phones to VoIP, while at the same time shortening the loss of communication? Preparing for the move means you need to gather pertinent information such as how many employees you have, what your cabling needs are, what your current infrastructure is, and what are the nonnegotiable-features that you need from the new phone system.
You begin by evaluating your cost analysis. Fully understanding the budget upfront and ongoing ensures that you will be able to get the most out of this new program, without being oversold. After looking at the move from a financial standpoint, you are ready for your live demo. This provides you and your employees a chance not only to see all of the VoIP system’s features but also to try them out, in a risk-free environment. Once you decide on which features you need, you are ready to decide which service provider best fits your company’s needs. For 2017, the top three VoIP service providers were Ring Central, Vonage Business, and 8×8 Global Communications.
Once you have selected a plan and a service provider, you want to ensure that you have no network issues that could limit or infringe on the successful integration of your new VoIP system. From these network tests, you should make any adjustments or upgrades that you feel are necessary to ensure the best result for your business. Lastly, you will complete your trial period, or your Proof of Concept period, that allows you to see first-hand how the service works and if it meets your business needs. If so, then you move on to finalize the agreement, and select a “Go Live Date”.
After your VoIP system is up and running, employees should be trained to use all the features that they provide. Some of these features include having a virtual receptionist, voicemail-to-email, automatic call forwarding, and three-digit dialing. Training and ongoing support are a crucial part of developing and maintaining your successful relationship with your VoIP.
Moving to VoIP does not have to be a cumbersome and time-consuming challenge. It could mean a more efficient, reliable, and qualitative business. With the new VoIP service, you would be able to rid yourself of the hassles of maintenance agreements, capital expenditure, truck rolls, and lengthy wait periods that traditional landline phones come with. Lastly, you will have access to excellent customer care support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Don’t let your phone system hold your business back from its full potential any longer. Disentangle yourself from your landlines’ limitations and see what the freedom provided by a VoIP system can do for your company.
With the growing threat of viruses, worms, scams and phishing schemes, it seems impossible for computer users to avoid a cyber breach these days. In spite of a massive focus on preventing cybersecurity breaches, it’s still possible to wake up one morning to news of a multi-million-dollar breach at Equifax. This nationwide credit reporting agency was thought to be as secure as Fort Knox and yet, just last year, Equifax announced that it had suffered a data breach that exposed the financial records of 143 million users.
Consumers may worry that if organizations like Equifax are not immune from these dangers, then no one is. The public must assume that credit reporting agencies, banks, credit unions and other financial institutions have the highest level of protection from data breaches. If that’s true, then how do these massive breaches keep happening?
Richard F. Smith, Equifax Chairman and CEO commented on the breach: “This is clearly a disappointing event for our company and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do”. What he did not say was that this type of data breach erodes public trust. How can our biggest and best-protected organizations continue to be infiltrated by hackers? What can the ordinary citizen do to protect their financial, personal and health information?
Most people sleep better knowing there’s a sophisticated alarm system in their home to protect them from intruders, but what about online safety? There are growing concerns that perhaps no one actually has that magic key to safety we’re all searching for. No one wants to be a victim and yet a new study from Bankrate reports that 41 million Americans have had their identity stolen.
In spite of our shattered dreams of online security, experts tell us that the more proactive we are, the better. All those little things we do — such as changing passwords regularly — really do make a difference.
In keeping with this movement to make the Internet safer for everyone, big companies like Microsoft and Google are getting involved. Microsoft’s Windows Defender is an antivirus tool that delivers real-time protection against spyware, malware, viruses, and others. It is now built into Windows 10 at no additional charge. It is important, however, to keep it updated to the latest version.
Along those same lines, Google has recently updated its Chrome Web Browser with new security tools that inform users know of potential threats. This newest product is called Chrome Cleanup and it’s a Chrome Extension that constantly checks for malicious software and automatically removes any threats for you. Powered by ESET, this technology was built to detect even the most subtle threats and remove them before they can harm your computer.
Chrome Cleanup also scans and removes any software that could cause a conflict or crash on your computer. It removes irritating ads that are hard to get rid of and notifies you if a site is trying to infiltrate or change your browsing history. essentially, Chrome Cleanup protects your computer against any nasty software that might be trying to damage your computer or steal information. This is a simple, easy and inexpensive way to protect one computer at home or dozens in an office environment.
However, Google developers do expect hackers to eventually find ways to bypass the safeguards in the Chrome Cleanups app. That’s why they are continuously updating all Google tools to ensure that users have the best protection available.
Though this is a whole new product for Google, it’s not the first in their arsenal to protect its users from hackers. Google claims to be the safest web browser available on the market today. As one of the most popular web browsers on the market, it is estimated that 400 million users worldwide regularly use Chrome as their default browser. Google has taken its role in internet security seriously by continuously experimenting with new products that protect users. Below are a few other Chrome extensions that can keep your business safe from a security breach:
There are many other Chrome extensions that can help users to safely browse and shop online. The sheer number and complexity of these apps prove that Google is taking the war on hackers seriously. Each day, hackers work to find new ways to infect computers with adware, ransomware, and malware. The volume of these dangerous programs is staggering, not to mention the complexity of the programs. New and even more clever tricks are employed to try and get users to download infected code.
In addition to stealing passwords and personal information, these nefarious programs can cause your computer to slow way down or stop performing correctly. It can be expensive and stressful to deal with these hard-to-remove programs.
The Chrome Cleanup Tool can help! Plus, it’s free and highly effective. It is well worth installing whether you have one or dozens of computers to safeguard from hackers.
Businesses store data like we store clothes. How many times do we step into our closets and wonder “When was the last time I wore this”?
This is similar to what we, as business owners, should be asking ourselves. “When was the last time I used this data?” We collect and store data on a constant basis, but if we aren’t using it, then it’s only taking up space and costing us money. It’s a common misconception that big data analyst programs or business intelligence are solely for large businesses. We should be using these tools and taking advantage of them every chance we get.
Most small businesses assume that they cannot afford business intelligence tools. While this may have once been true, it’s just not the case anymore. Before now, business intelligence tools came with a hefty price tag and needed highly trained and educated staff to run them. However, with today’s advances in technology, there’s been a considerable improvement in affordability of these tools. There is no longer the need for entire teams of analysts and scientists to explain the data in layman’s terms. Now, programs and tools such as these work as a middleman, giving even the most inexperienced employee access to compelling, game-changing data. Now, that data that sat unused can now have huge impacts on your small business’ profits, efficiency, and security.
There are few main ways that business intelligence tools can aid your small business:
One of the most critical aspects of a business is profit – without it, everything stops. Business Intelligence Tools aid your business’s profit by providing valuable insight into your activity and your customers’ behavior. Business Intelligence Tools can increase your business’s profit, both current and future through the use of analytics and science-based predictors.
Efficiency is a vital cornerstone of any business. You can build the effectiveness of your small business operations in a few ways. The easiest way is by using a Business Intelligence Tool like Business Activity Monitoring. Business Activity Monitors analyze data that comes from inside your organization as well as outside, such as those involving your customers and partners. This analysis offers you an opportunity to see where gaps exist and where they don’t. It also looks for patterns of efficiency within your business by showing which departments are running efficiently, and which aren’t. These tools ensure that you and your staff are making efficient use of all your resources, no matter how large or small.
The 2017 SMB Routes to Market Study found that small businesses reported that “getting better insights out of the data they already have is their top technology challenge”. How much data does your small business have that isn’t being used to its full potential? This unused data might make a huge difference in your business marketing. Business Intelligence Tools help your small business by further developing and strengthening your market reach. This makes use of the data that you’ve already collected and helps you detect patterns. These patterns can reveal both customer and employee trends. Tools such as these fill that void by giving employees the opportunity to be more productive and efficient in working towards the greater good for the business.
Another essential tool is the digital dashboard, which gives you a dashboard view of numerous sources of data all at once, in an easy-to-understand and organized way. A recent study showed that only 40% of the workforce knew about their company’s goals, strategies, and tactics. Improving the efficiency of your business means getting all your employees working towards the same goal. Digital dashboards provide an explicit representation of the data findings of your business, to anyone from the CEO to the temp receptionist, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same data-driven goals.
Maintaining secure and stable storage of essential data helps you provide professional and trustworthy service. Business Intelligence Tools provide security by protecting the data it holds. For example, a Business Intelligence Tool for data cleansing can monitor your data to detect any corrupt files. Once it finds a corrupt or incorrect file, it safely confines and deletes it. This tool not only protects your clients’ data but safeguards your company from possibly making decisions based off of faulty data as well.
Business Intelligence Tools are no longer out of reach for small businesses. They can help your business reach its full potential, help you increase profits, improve efficiency, expand your market reach, unite your staff’s efforts and improve data security. As a small business, you now have these resources at your disposal. Don’t let that data continue to sit unused. It could have a big impact on your small business.