software / windows

The love? affair is over

I recently wrote this on the Microsoft ‘Tech Support’ site in frustration at Windows 10 again causing me to say rude words. This time I was just trying to open the downloads folder and had to wait for 10 minutes before I was granted access. Then I was Continue reading

Want a ChromeBook for under $200?

Ok, so what’s a ChromeBook and why are they taking the computing world by storm? There are different reasons, but in my humble opinion, two words – Not Microsoft. I’ve been working with computers and specifically, Microsoft Windows computers, since the first version of Windows – 3.1 released around April 1992. Purists will know that this wasn’t the first but it was the first mainstream version that was adopted by many of us.

The various attempts by Microsoft to make Windows the reliable operating system we were promised has had mixed results – some shocking versions like Vista and the first Windows 8 version caused many to look around for alternatives like Linux, Apple etc. Windows 10, in my opinion, hasn’t achieved what we hoped for. The continual, often very large updates that can take hours to install, annoying ‘improvements’ that change familiar methods of working and yes, still problems with drivers and software make it an unwieldy, annoying huge chunk of software that isn’t really a 21st Century operating system.

It was the introduction of fast broadband for the majority that enabled Google to bring out their ChromeOS and licence this system to makers of notebook computers.

I have several Windows 10 systems but in all honesty, I would use them at most, once or twice a week – for all other tasks I use my 12 inch Acer touch screen notebook running ChromiumOS. This is the development version of ChromeOS that is available to download for free. ChromeOS isn’t free – as I said, it’s licensed to PC makers and used mainly in education laptops for schools. Chromebooks running ChromeOS can be bought from a very few retail outlets – Kogan and OfficeWorks for example and the new versions can also run Android apps which makes them even more versatile.

So. Why use ChromeOS or ChromiumOS? Simple really – it just works. It’s unobtrusive, fast, kept updated regularly (updates take seconds to download and install), has a small hard drive footprint and is perfect for 90% of the tasks we use our computers for these days. Namely – web browsing, sending and receiving emails, writing and opening documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint can be created and edited in Google Docs), downloading and basic editing of photos from cameras and smartphones.

ChromeBooks and notebooks running ChromiumOS can’t run Windows programs and that is the only reason I can see to not use one. You perform all tasks online so of course an internet connection is required but these days that isn’t much of an issue. We can even use our phone’s as a WiFi hotspot and connect our laptops to these when travelling.

The title of my article implies you can get a ChromeBook for under $200 – you might get a used one for that certainly – but I’m talking here about reusing a notebook or laptop you already have and installing ChromiumOS on it to replace whichever version of Windows you have on it. Do it yourself and this will cost you – – nothing. You do of course have to know where to go to download it, how to make the installer and get your laptop to ‘boot’ from a USB stick and then install and set it up. It isn’t too hard but unless you are technically-minded more than many can handle.

This is where I come in. I can do this for you for as little as $100. The actual fee depends on what you want – if you don’t want to save anything on the laptop/notebook and you already have a Google (Gmail) account then that’s usually all you’ll pay. If you want to retain your ‘stuff’ on the PC, I can supply a new solid state hard drive, fit that and install ChromiumOS for you and set it up. I can then fit your old drive into a new USB external drive case that can be plugged back into the pc so you can access your files, documents, photos etc. The pricing for that depends on the size of the new solid state drive and drive case plus a little more time.

Every laptop and notebook I have installed ChromiumOS on so far has worked fine but there is no guarantee yours will work and there is no simple way to revert the system back to Windows again, unless you choose the replacement solid state drive option. In that case, I simply fit the old drive and it’s back to running Windows again.

If you want to see a ChromiumOS notebook in action, I usually bring mine along to the Heads Seniors Computer Club on Wednesday mornings (10am – 12). Just get in touch with me first to ensure I’ll be there. Bring along your laptop or notebook too and I’ll check it over quickly so you’ll have an idea of what it will cost to install the OS for you. We also have a club ChromeBook there so you can see the differences.

How to take control of Windows 10 Updates

Win10 Update annoyanceOne of the problems that Windows 10 users face is the update process. Updates are important but, as we have seen in the past, they can go terribly wrong. Experienced users used to set their Windows Update to ‘check for updates but don’t automatically install them’. Microsoft has made this hard to do if not impossible for most users – but there is a way to delay the updates on any computer.

It isn’t elegant – in other words, why not give us the option to delay the updates until we want to install them? – but it does work. Provided you connect to the internet via WiFi.

Here’s how to do it. Continue reading

Windows 10 – the nightmare continues…

angry-wet-catI’ve been doing this game for some time now. Cut my teeth on Windows 3.0, then progressed through all the versions, 3.1, 95, 98, 98SE, XP, Vista (cough..), Windows 7, Windows 8 (choke…), Windows 8.1 and now we have this – Windows 10, or as Microsoft like to call it, the last version of Windows.

And we’ll keep updating it and adding features, because – hey, we know you don’t mind it when things go wrong or your working day loses 4-5 hours while we ‘update’ your previously working PC so that it looks different than yesterday. Oh and you know those programs you used to use? Well we decided you don’t need them anymore so we uninstalled them for you and put a link on the desktop of all the ones we removed for you. Aren’t we caring? No, don’t thank us, it’s all part of the Microsoft service…

Hmm. We thought Vista and 8 was bad – well 10 has become the nightmare for many that means it may well be the last Windows for them.

Some of us are luckier Continue reading

How to install MalwareBytes Premium

mbam_installAs readers of this blog will know, I recommend and use MalwareBytes Premium but I have found that beginners or those with little experience installing software on their computes may need some help. I’ve written this to provide clear instructions, but if you get really stuck just contact me for further assistance.

Here are the steps to download, install and activate the product.

1. Click the MalwareBytes Premium ad on the front page of this website (Disclaimer: I am an affiliate and get a small payment for referrals but I would recommend the product if I wasn’t).
2. Complete the purchase details – NOTE: please check your email address carefully as this is where your invoice and activation details will be sent
3. Pay for the product by your preferred method (note that this page is secure)
Continue reading

The love? affair is over
The love? affair is over

I recently wrote this on the Microsoft ‘Tech Support’ site in frustration at Windows 10 again causing me to say rude words. This time I was just trying to open

... read more

 
Want a ChromeBook for under $200?
Want a ChromeBook for under $200?

Ok, so what’s a ChromeBook and why are they taking the computing world by storm? There are different reasons, but in my humble opinion, two words – Not Microsoft. I’ve

... read more

 
Want to make your home smarter?
Want to make your home smarter?

Setting up a smarthome is becoming easier every month with new, cheaper devices coming into the market regularly. At our place, I have installed a Google Home (3 in fact

... read more

 
How to take control of Windows 10 Updates
How to take control of Windows 10 Updates

One of the problems that Windows 10 users face is the update process. Updates are important but, as we have seen in the past, they can go terribly wrong. Experienced

... read more