Category: Microsoft (Page 1 of 3)

Using Open Shell with Windows 11

All these years later, and there are still many people who prefer the Start Menu from the Windows 7 era. Open Shell does the trick nicely, and is still a free download for all.

But with Windows 11, you may not think so, at first. Open Shell users who upgrade to Windows 11 will not see the classic-looking Start menu they’re used to. Or if you freshly install Open Shell on your Win11 PC, you may see nothing happen. You’ll just have the new-fangled Windows 11 Start button. Which is strangely towards the middle of the taskbar…

But don’t worry. Open Shell Start Menu is there and will work. You just have to coax it out:

  • Click the new Start button and then click All Apps.
  • Scroll down and click Open-Shell, then click Open-Shell Menu Settings.
  • Check the box labeled “Replace Start button” and click OK.

Now you’ll have both Start buttons, the classic one to the left and the modern one to the middle. Use either one, depending on your preferences!

Windows 11 Is Here

If you’re eager to try out the new Windows 11, here are some useful links:

Check Your Computer’s Eligibility

Not all computers can get Windows 11. Use this Microsoft tool to check if your computer is eligible to receive Windows 11.

Download Your Upgrade

To put Windows 11 onto your computer, you could check the Windows Update panel under Settings. But that might not immediately offer the upgrade. Microsoft may stagger this rollout over weeks and months, so to get Windows 11 immediately, visit this page. Click the first Download Now button on that page to get started.

If you want to create a Windows 11 Installation Flash Drive, plug in your flash drive (8GB or larger) to your computer and use the second Download Now button on that page. Having such a flash drive is really useful if you plan to carry the installer to another computer, to put Windows 11 on it. And I like having these flash drives handy for advanced Windows repairs…

One recommendation: Don’t use a flash drive to install Windows 11 on a computer that is not eligible for Windows 11, per the above software tool. You probably could succeed at it, but we don’t yet know all of the side effects or problems that might result.

Not interested in Windows 11?

Please don’t feel like you need to perform this upgrade. Windows 11 is optional. Windows 10 will still work and be supported through 2025. You may remain with the Windows that you have. But please know that new computers are going to start coming with Windows 11 installed, and Windows 10 computers are going to become scarce in the coming months.

MS Publisher Unavailable for MacOS

If you use Microsoft Publisher, you might be interested to know that Publisher is not available for Apple users. Anyone using an iMac or MacBook is free to buy and install Microsoft 365, like anyone else. But after the install, the Apple computer will offer Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., but NO Publisher.

It’s not such a big deal, until someone sends a Publisher file to a Mac user. Then the trouble starts: the Mac will be unable to open or show the file, and it will offer no help as to what to do!

Since there is no way to get Publisher for MacOS, here are some workarounds:

Try LibreOffice

LibreOffice can open Publisher files, as well as allow for some editing. Install it for free from their website.

Convert the File to PDF

There are plenty of free websites that can convert an unopenable file to a PDF version. The converted file will then easily open in Adobe Reader or your browser. Consider uploading the .pub file to PublisherToPDF.com for this option.

Ask the File Creator for a Different Format

You can always let the sender know that you don’t have access to Publisher. They may be able to save their work as a PDF and send that over to you, instead!

Microsoft Editor: Spelling & Grammar Checker

This freebie does what it says on the tin: it checks your spelling and grammar for you, within your web browser. Install Microsoft Editor: Spelling & Grammar Checker and it will underline spelling errors or grammar mistakes as you type.

For the most part, this will help with typing email. But it should also red-line any writing errors on other websites, say, as you fill in a web form or write a comment on social media. Whatever errors it detects will have a zigzag underline that you can click for suggested corrections.

Grammarly does a similar job to ME: S&GC, but I find Microsoft’s extension bothers me with fewer ads. If you want to try this out, it’s available for either Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome. Just make sure to click its browser icon after you install, and sign in with your Microsoft account.

Simple Keyboard Shortcuts for MS Word, A-Z

There are too many handy shortcuts within Microsoft Word, but I’m going to try to list out the easier ones for you to review. This is not to say that you should memorize all of them! Rather, check them out and see if a few would be especially useful to the way you use your computer. Practice one or two and you may discover they change your computer-life!

  • Control + A: Highlights & Selects all text in a document.
  • Control + B: Emboldens selected text.
  • Control + C: Copies selected text to clipboard.
  • Control + D: Opens the Font Formatting window.
  • Control + E: Toggles text between Align-Left and Centered.
  • Control + F: Opens a Find field.
  • Control + G: Moves to the next result after using the Find tool.
  • Control + H: Opens the Find & Replace tool.
  • Control + I: Italicizes selected text.
  • Control + J: Toggles text between Align-Left and Justified.
  • Control + K: Inserts a hyperlink into your document.
  • Control + L: Toggles text between Align-Left and Justified.
  • Control + M: Indent entire paragraph.
  • Control + N: Opens a new document.
  • Control + O: Opens the Open File window.
  • Control + P: Opens the Print options window.
  • Control + Q: Removes paragraph formatting (indentation/spacing).
  • Control + R: Toggles text between Align-Left and Align-Right.
  • Control + S: Opens the Save window.
  • Control + T: Creates a hanging indent.
  • Control + U: Underlines selected text.
  • Control + V: Pastes text from clipboard into the document.
  • Control + W: Closes the open document
  • Control + X: Cuts selected text, saving it to the clipboard.
  • Control + Y: Redo the action that was just Undone (see next shortcut).
  • Control + Z: Undo the last action taken.

Many of these shortcuts should carry over to Chromebooks and Linux computers. On Apple computers, most of these shortcuts will also work, if you use the Command key instead of Control.

Most of these shortcuts will also work in OpenOffice, LibreOffice and other non-Microsoft word processing apps.

Simple Keyboard Shortcuts for your Browser, A-Z

There are too many handy shortcuts within Windows, but I’m going to try to list out the easier ones for you to review. This is not to say that you should memorize all of them! Rather, check them out and see if a few would be especially useful to the way you use your computer. Practice one or two and you may discover they change your computer-life!

  • Control + A: Highlights & Selects all text in a given area.
  • Control + B: Shows the Bookmarks (Firefox only).
  • Control + C: Copies selected text to clipboard.
  • Control + D: Creates a bookmark in your browser.
  • Control + E: Starts a web search in your browser.
  • Control + F: Opens a Find field (to search the current site for a word/phrase).
  • Control + G: Moves to the next result after using the Find field.
  • Control + H: Opens your web history in your browser.
  • Control + I: Opens the Page Info window (Firefox only).
  • Control + J: Opens your Downloads list in your browser.
  • Control + K: Starts a web search in your browser.
  • Control + L: Takes you to the address bar in your browser.
  • Control + M: Mutes the current Tab (Firefox and Edge only).
  • Control + N: Opens a new browser window.
  • Control + O: Opens the Open File window.
  • Control + P: Opens the Print options window.
  • Control + Q: Does nothing!
  • Control + R: Refreshes/reloads the current website.
  • Control + S: Opens the Save window (Firefox & Chrome only).
  • Control + T: Opens a new tab in your browser.
  • Control + U: Reveals the source code of the current website.
  • Control + V: Pastes text from clipboard into a text field.
  • Control + W: Closes the current tab.
  • Control + X: Cuts selected text from a text field, saving it to the clipboard.
  • Control + Y: Redo the action that was just Undone (see next shortcut).
  • Control + Z: Undo the last action taken in a text field.

Many of these shortcuts should carry over to Chromebooks and Linux computers. On Apple computers, most of these shortcuts will also work, if you use the Command key instead of Control.

Microsoft Money

Many years ago, Microsoft Money was a common software program used for personal finances. Then Microsoft discontinued that software, and Quicken & Quickbooks became the mainstays of personal financial software. But to this day, I still encounter Microsoft Money loyalists.

If you’ve stuck with Microsoft Money all this time, then you need to know: Microsoft Money is still available. For free! When Microsoft stopped selling MS Money in 2010, they also released it as a zero-cost, no-activation download. They renamed it Money Plus Sunset Deluxe, and it continued to work with everyone’s old Money files. Best of all, it installs and works just fine on Windows 10!

However, I’ve just noticed that Microsoft removed all of their MPSD downloads. And when I search the internets, many of the other download-websites out there are bundling Microsoft Money with malware. Yikes!

If you’re looking to load Microsoft Money Sunset, I don’t want you running afoul of viruses! So I’ll host a clean copy of this software in my cloud storage, in case you ever need to use it. Feel free to use the link below to get a clean & safe installer for Microsoft Money:

Microsoft Money Sunset Deluxe

Windows 10 Gaming Performance Fix

Since March 2021, some gamers have had some real problems on their Windows 10 computers. The problem was not with your casual games, like Solitaire and Mahjongg, but with more demanding games, like CS: GO and GTAV. Many players could not resolve issues with stuttering and low frame rates, and it all traced back to Microsoft as the culprit.

Microsoft has finally developed a fix. And while the fix is included in a larger update next month, Microsoft has gone the extra mile and released the gaming fix now, as an optional update. If you’ve been suffering under this problem, go get the download now:

Click Start, go to Settings, then Update & Security. You should see the update in question (KB5004296 ), under the heading “Optional quality update available”:

Click “Download and install”, wait out the update process, and reboot when it appears finished. I hope this improves your future games!

Windows 11 Is Coming

Microsoft is starting to talk about their next version of Windows, and we may see it released in late 2021 or early 2022. Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for any computer running a legitimate copy of Windows 10.

But not all computers will be able to handle Windows 11. If you care to check your computer’s compatibility, Microsoft made this quick software tool for all to use. Download, run and open that program, and then click the big blue Check Now button.

If your computer is found to be Not Compatible with the upcoming Windows, no need to worry. Windows 10 will be supported through October 2025. And you’ll be welcome to use Windows 10 past that time, just as there are still some folks using Windows 7 in 2021.

For more general info on Windows 11, check out the intro page over at Microsoft.com.

Windows 10 in S Mode

Windows 10 comes in a few editions: Home, Pro and S Mode. And that last one gives many people pause. Just what is S Mode? What does the S stand for? Simple, Secure, Strict, Stunted? Microsoft is mum on that question.

S Mode Defined

S Mode is a locked down version of Windows. S Mode means that you may not install any software on the computer, unless it comes from the Microsoft Store. So on a Windows S Mode computer, you are protected from most types of malware and other nasties, but also cannot load Google Chrome, Adobe Reader, Quickbooks or any other software from a download or disc.

This may be acceptable, if you can live with only ever using Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Office. This may be an instant No for many computer users.

But Should You Avoid S Mode Computers?

In short, No! Many computers at Costco, Best Buy, Microcenter and other retailers boast Windows S Mode, but don’t be deterred! S Mode can be removed right after you boot the computer. Microsoft allows you to remove S Mode and convert your license to Windows 10 Home, for free.

But it is a one-way trip. Once you switch from S Mode to Home, there’s no going back. So be sure you want to make the change, and then:

Switch Out of S Mode

Once your new S Mode computer is booted and connected to the internet, go to:

Start -> Settings -> Update & Security -> Activation.

Here you should find a wodge of text about Switching to Windows 10 Home. Under it, click the link that says “Go to the Store”. The Microsoft Store will appear and you’ll want to use the “Get” button to remove S Mode.

Microsoft may demand that you sign in to your Microsoft account a couple of times, but if you jump through their hoops, Windows will tell you that you have removed S Mode for good! You are then free to install any programs you desire.

One Last Thing…

Sometimes, people complain: “Hey, I removed S Mode and Microsoft still won’t let me install XYZ Program!” If this happens to you, go to:

Start -> Settings -> Apps.

Under the heading “Choose Where to Get Apps”, change the drop-down menu to “Anywhere”. Close this window and then go try your installation again!

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