Protect Yourself From Ransomware In Windows 10

August 15th, 2019 by Julie Lough

Windows 10 Security Tips

Protect Yourself From Ransomware In Windows 10

You may have been using Windows 10 for some time now, but it’s likely that you haven’t mastered all of its features just yet.

You’ve heard about ransomware, right?

It’s a type of malware that encrypts your data so you can’t access it and holds it for ransom. Usually, this malware makes its way into your systems by posing as a file or program you think you want. Even if you don’t end up having to pay the ransom, it’s a lot of trouble that you should try to avoid.

Did you know that you can enable Controlled Folder Access in Windows 10 to protect against ransomware?

Enabling Controlled Folder Access protects the default Windows data storage locations in your profile from access by unknown applications. When compared to identified and allowed programs, if the malware is determined to be unsafe, you’ll get a pop-up letting you know it was denied access to your storage.


Get More Out Of The Clipboard In Windows 10

August 8th, 2019 by Julie Lough

Windows 10 Tips

Get More Out Of The Clipboard In Windows 10

You may have been using Windows 10 for some time now, but it’s likely that you haven’t mastered all of its features just yet.

Copy/Paste was a revolutionary feature when it came out years ago. However, operating systems have been slow to adopt the next logical step in its evolution – the clipboard.

Did you know that you can save 10 or more items to your clipboard on a long-term basis?

It’s simple – hit the Windows key + V to bring up your clipboard history. It’ll show you the many things you’ve Copy/Pasted, any of which you can choose to delete (for security purposes, if it were, say, a password) or pin for later use.

That way, you don’t have to always go back and Copy/Paste that same info from the same note or .doc file – you can have it ready for use on your clipboard for as long as you need it.

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Auto-Lock Your Computer In Windows 10

August 2nd, 2019 by Julie Lough

Windows 10 Tech Tips

Auto-Lock Your Computer In Windows 10

You may have been using Windows 10 for some time now, but it’s likely that you haven’t mastered all of its features just yet.

Do you know how to get your computer to automatically lock while you’re away from it?

It’s a feature included with Windows Hello. While you may already be using Windows Hello to unlock your computer with face recognition, you may not know about Dynamic Lock.

Here’s how it works – you configure Dynamic Lock to recognize a Bluetooth enabled device you keep on your person, such as your phone. After starting up, if that device goes out of range for longer than 30 seconds, your computer will automatically lock itself.

This feature allows you to get up and leave your computer unattended for short periods without having to worry about someone else snooping around your data.

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Create Your Own Fonts In Windows 10

July 25th, 2019 by Julie Lough

Windows 10 Tech Tips

Create Your Own Fonts In Windows 10

You may have been using Windows 10 for some time now, but it’s likely that you haven’t mastered all of its features just yet.

Did you know that you can create your own fonts?

In the Windows store, you can get the “Make Your Own Font” app, a great way to add a personal touch to anything you may need to write. For example, you could even send an email in your own handwriting!

All you need to do is fill out the alphabet letter by letter (lower and upper case) as well as numbers and symbols. Then you name it, save it, and upload it via Control Panel > Fonts.

The next time you’re drafting something and find that Times New Roman is too formal, you’ll be able to switch to your personalized font instead.

Let us know what you think about this Windows 10 tech tip.  Just reply to this email.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll have more Windows 10 tips for you.


How To Send Large Attachments Over Email

July 16th, 2019 by Julie Lough

Sending Large files over email

How To Send Large Attachments Over Email

When you’re trying to send large files to colleagues, customers or partners, you often can run up against issues that make transmission difficult.

Many commercial email programs put size limits on files transmitted over their networks. For example, attachments sent via AOL, Gmail or Yahoo are limited to 25 Mb per email and Outlook.com puts a 10 Mb limit.

In addition to the limits set by email providers, the email accounts to which you’re sending the attachments may also limit size.

So, what are you supposed to do when wanting to send large files? Here are a few ways to deliver what’s needed.

Can I Use a Cloud Storage Service?

There are plenty of commercially available cloud storage services, many of which are free. Among the most well known are Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive, the latter two of which are tied to email services (Gmail and Outlook, respectively). After you’ve uploaded your large files to these services, you can provide a link to those you want to see it and determine if they have editing capabilities.

What Is Compression Software?

Compression is a process that shrinks the size of each file considerably, up to 75 percent in some cases, without disrupting the integrity of the files themselves. The compressed files will be placed in a ZIP file. If the compressed ZIP file is now below the size limit for your email provider, you’ll be able to send it with no problem.

The recipient of your email can then unzip the file, where your files will be available for use.

Is Archiving an Option?

File compression into a ZIP file is one form of archiving, a process that collects multiple files into a single file. Archiving files is a good way to send large numbers of files at once. However, even this process can be problematic, with archived files themselves exceeding email provider limits.

If your files are already archived, you can extract all the files, split them into their own archives and send away.

What Is the Sharing Option About?

Many cloud storage sites include sharing shortcuts to allow for even faster collaboration. With OneDrive, for example, you can right-click on a file (in Windows) and select the Share feature. Click on the Send Link option and you’ll be able to enter an email address and message.

Are There Other Online File Sharing Options?

There are several online services available that are designed expressly to help with uploading and sharing large files. In most cases, you can upload your large files to the site. Then you can send a link to the files. Some sites require those accessing the files to have an account with the site; others allow anyone to whom you send a link to access the files. In some cases, there’s a free option for file sharing (but the allowed sizes are usually pretty small) and tiered account options.

Are There Any Other Solutions?

Depending on your internet service provider, you may be able to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that would allow you to keep your files highly secure and sendable. However, a VPN transmission of large files could slow down your VPN and the files may not be intact upon arrival.

If you have a web hosting account, you can use its File Transfer Protocol (FTP) service to upload the files to your anonymous folder. Share the folder name and have the recipient access the folder via their own FTP features. This option takes some technical expertise, however, and can lead to a long upload process.

Finally, there is an old-school option. You could purchase a USB drive or an external hard drive, transfer the files to the device, and physically deliver them to the recipient.

Large files a reality for many businesses, freelancers and individuals. However, there are multiple options for transferring those files safely and affordably.


iTunes Going Away?

July 5th, 2019 by Julie Lough

What You Need to Know About Backing Up iTunes and What’s Next for Apple Music and Other Media

Many iTunes users were shocked on June 3 when Apple announced that iTunes would be phased out. First things first: the iTunes store won’t be going away. All of the music people have bought from the store will still be there.

iTunes Library

What is Apple actually doing with iTunes?

Because people are increasingly streaming, not downloading, Apple is breaking the iTunes store up into separate segments for music, podcasts, and video/television. Each of the media will have its own app on the Catalina Mac OS.

What iTunes apps will be affected?

The iTunes store will still be available as a music store. The other media, including video/TV and podcasts are being spun off.

The new iTunes store will be more closely aligned with Apple’s streaming music service. Apple is looking to rebrand itself as a streaming entertainment service. Other streaming content Apple is either developing or currently offering include Apple Music (streaming), a new TV streaming service, and a magazine subscription service.

What will I do to save my iTunes library?

First, the change affects desktop computers only. If you’re using iTunes on any other device, it won’t change. Second, the change will only affect you if you’re upgrading to macOS 10.15 Catalina.

Apple’s iTunes change is intended to conform the way digital media is stored on desktops with all other devices. If you are upgrading to macOS 10.15 Catalina, after the change, you will locate your iTunes library using Finder.

If you look at one of your mobile devices, you can see what will happen – the format on your desktop in macOS 10.15 Catalina will be similar to the format for media libraries on the iPhone or iPad. Mobile IOS devices have apps for Music, Videos, and Podcasts.

What if I can’t find the iTunes store?

The iTunes store on a desktop or laptop will be located in a sidebar within Apple Music. You can use the sidebar the same way you have always used it. Individual songs and albums will continue to be available for purchase and download.

How can I make sure my iTunes library is backed up?

You can back up your Mac using Time Machine. Your iTunes library will be backed up automatically as long as the library is included and it’s a full Mac backup.

If you want to use Time Machine to store a copy of the library outside Apple storage, connect a storage device to your Mac. When Time Machine prompts, choose the device as the backup disk.

If you only want to back up your iTunes music, not your whole computer, make sure that your iTunes music is on the local computer.

If there are any songs you’re concerned you may have missed, choose the Account menu at the top of your iTunes screen, then choose “Purchased” and “Music.” Re-download the songs you want to make sure you have saved.

Next, you need to organize and consolidate your library. Click “File” on the top of the iTunes screen. Choose “Library,” then “Organize Library.” At that point, pick the first option: “Consolidate files.”

This puts your files together and keeps them organized while also leaving originals in place.

You can then use the consolidated iTunes Media folder to make a backup onto any external drive or memory device.

Apple’s support page on how to back up and restore your iTunes library can also help guide you through the process.

ITunes isn’t really going away and neither will your downloaded and purchased music. Apple is just adding streaming capabilities for music, videos, podcasts, and television. Look for the changes this fall when Apple releases Mac OS Catalina. If you won’t be upgrading to the new operating system, you will not notice any changes at all on your Mac, MacBook, iMac or Mac Pro.


Do You Really Need To Eject That USB Drive?

June 28th, 2019 by Julie Lough

Eject USB

USB drives offer so much convenience. A little storage device as big as your finger, you can carry it around without even noticing it—and with every passing year, the amount of data they can hold grows and grows. These small storage devices are so easy and convenient to use that they are found everywhere in the business world, from desk drawers to branded swag drives on keychains. And since they are so easy to pop in and out of your USB drive, if you are like many people, you probably do not even bother to eject them before you take them out of your drive. Is there really any problem with not ejecting your USB drive properly? Unfortunately, the answer is a definite “Yes.”

From losing data to ruining the drive, failing to properly eject your USB drive can lead to real issues. Read on to discover the way your USB drive works and why it is so important to go through the ejection process on your computer.

Removing a USB Drive Without Ejecting—What You Need to Know

How USB Drives and Computers Communicate

Using a USB drive is such a seemingly simple task. But when you look more closely at what goes on with your drive and your computer when they interact, you will discover that the way they work together involves a lot more than just plugging in and unplugging.

When you plug a USB drive into your computer or laptop, the first thing that happens is the computer delivers power through the USB port to the USB drive. The drive does not have its own power source, so it requires power from the computer to operate. After the computer has supplied power, the computer and the drive must communicate with one another.

Proper communication between a computer and a drive requires having the right drivers installed on your computer. Fortunately, today’s drives come equipped with drivers that your computer can download to allow it to communicate with the drive—which is why modern USB drives are considered “plug-and-play.”

When the computer and the drive have established communication, the computer does what it needs to do to figure out what is on the drive. There are multiple steps to just this process, including reading the directory structure, Master Boot Record or Partition Boot Record (the process can vary by drive).

Every one of the things described above happens before you are able to see your USB drive contents on your computer—all within a matter of seconds. There are numerous other things that go on behind the scenes as you use the USB drive as well. While it may seem like the changes you make to your drive happen instantly, in reality, there are multi-stage processes occurring that may take longer than you realize.

Alterations to Your Drive Happen in Batches

As your computer is reading your drive, it is changing the information in the metadata on the files, such as changing the time and date that the file was last modified. Then, when you make changes to files, such as adding or deleting a file, the changes you make will first occur in your computer’s cache. Eventually, your computer will make the actual alterations to the information on your drive. Again, these things happen quickly, but it is important to understand that they do not happen instantly, which is one of the reasons why pulling the drive out can cause problems.

Other Programs May Be Using Your Drive

You see a very small portion of what actually happens with your computer at any given moment. While you may not be interacting with your drive right now, other programs on your computer could be doing so. For example, your antivirus and anti-malware programs could be busy scanning your drive while you are doing other things. Removing the drive while such programs are doing things on your drive can cause the files to be corrupted.

What Happens When You Eject the Drive?

Your computer and your drive have to go through a process to say goodbye just like they had a process to say hello. By pressing the eject button in your system you are telling the computer to start this process and finalize everything so that the drive can be removed safely. The computer will make sure that all of its interactions with the drive are completed before it says that you can safely remove the drive—like waiting until the antivirus is done scanning the drive.

Always Eject the Drive to Avoid Damaging Files or the Drive

Failing to properly eject your USB drive can damage files or corrupt the entire drive. That is why you always want to go through the proper ejection process. Failing to do so could cause you to lose your data on the drive or cause you to lose the ability to use the drive at all.


How to Install Microsoft Launcher on Android Devices

June 12th, 2019 by Julie Lough

If you haven’t looked lately at what Microsoft’s mobile offerings, it’s time to look again. Microsoft’s first forays into the iOS and Android mobile spaces (circa 2010) were underwhelming to say the least, but in recent years the company has turned things around in an impressive fashion. One of these recent developments, Microsoft Launcher, is an immensely powerful tool and an Android exclusive. We’ll review what Microsoft Launcher is and then walk you through the installation and setup process on your Android device.

Microsoft Launcher Android

What Is Microsoft Launcher?

Microsoft Launcher is an app available on the Google Play store, but it doesn’t operate in the way most apps do. In the Android ecosystem, launchers are essentially replacement interfaces for your home screen. When you select a launcher besides the default one that comes with your phone, you gain access to whatever functionality is built into that launcher.

I’m an iPhone User and I’m Confused

It’s OK; we understand. There’s not really any parallel to this on iOS. Android phones offer far more customization on the home screen than iPhones do. It’s a difference in philosophy: Android users who customize effectively benefit from a polished, streamlined home screen. Those who don’t end up with a mess. Apple prevents both extremes by providing their own polished home screen and limiting what users can modify.

What Microsoft Launcher Can Do

Microsoft Launcher gives you system-level integration with your Microsoft accounts. This is powerful stuff if your business is using Microsoft 365. Integrate your contacts, calendar, documents, and more at the system level. Once installed, swipe right for deep Microsoft interactions, or swipe two fingers down to access Launcher settings.

How to Install Microsoft Launcher

To install and configure Microsoft Launcher, first download the app from the Google Play store. Next, choose Microsoft Launcher as your new home screen. In most versions of Android you’ll tap the square soft key from the home screen to bring up a “select launcher” pane. If that doesn’t work, try opening the app from your “all apps” menu.

When you choose Microsoft Launcher as your new launcher, you’ll get a system warning about setting the app as default. Click OK.

What Just Happened?

When you clicked OK, your home screen changed, perhaps drastically. Congratulations, you’re now running Microsoft Launcher! Customize your home screen with your favorite apps (Microsoft apps encouraged, of course), and be sure to sign in to your Microsoft account in settings.

Swipe Right

When running Microsoft Launcher as your home screen, you can swipe right for all sorts of Microsoft interactions. See your calendar, task list, and recent OneDrive documents. You can interact with these here, and changes will update across all your devices. You can even send a photo directly to your PC, similar to Apple’s Airdrop feature.

Conclusion

Microsoft Launcher is a powerful tool for Android users who use Microsoft 365 at work. We recommend downloading right away!


How to Copy Cells in Microsoft Excel

May 28th, 2019 by Julie Lough

Today’s quick tech tip covers one of the basic functions in Microsoft Excel.

Watch the video below or click here.

 

Here’s how to copy cells in Microsoft Excel, plus one of the advanced copy and paste features available in the application.

Step 1: Select the Cell or Cells You Want to Copy

If you want to select a single cell, you simply need to click on it. If you want to select a range of cells—whether that’s a partial or full column or row, or a wider range—click and hold on one of the cells you want to copy and drag to the other end of the range.

You can also select an entire column or row in one click by placing your cursor outside the grid, on top of the letter or number corresponding to the column or row. Your cursor will change to a rightward or downward arrow. Click to select the entire column or row.

Step 2: Copy

To copy the selected cells, click the “Copy” button in the Clipboard section of the ribbon. In your default view, the Clipboard section is in the upper left. You can also use a keyboard shortcut to copy: press Ctrl + C on a PC or Command + C on a Mac.

Step 3: Select Destination and Paste

All that’s left is to click on the cell where you want the copied information to go and paste. If you’ve copied a single cell, simply click on the cell where the copied content needs to go. If you’ve copied a range of cells, you don’t have to select an identical range of cells to paste. Simply select the cell that’s in the upper left corner of your range.

To paste your content, click the “Paste” button in the Clipboard section of the ribbon, or use a keyboard shortcut. This time, the keyboard shortcuts are Ctrl + V (PC) or Command + V (Mac). Your content will appear in the new location, and you’re ready to move on to the next task.

A Few Notes

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are a few warnings and advanced tips.

Formulas

If you copy a cell with a formula in it, Excel will automatically copy that formula to the destination. If this isn’t what you want, click the down arrow below the Paste button. Excel gives you a dozen or so special methods of pasting. If all you want is the raw number, no formula attached, then use “Paste Values” instead.

Overwriting Content

If you copy a range of cells, be aware that pasting that range will overwrite anything in the destination range. Make sure you have enough space there and won’t lose any important data.

Copy Paste Cells Microsoft Excel