Interntaional Email and Security Settings

24 Mar

Good morning everyone,

Rob here on the ms Maasdam sailing back to Florida from the Caribbean.  Recently we returned from a cruise down to Brazil and I was receiving a lot of very similar questions along the lines of “My email isn’t working!” or “My service provider has blocked my account”

First to tackle the first issue of accounts not working overseas I would strongly suggest setting up an additional email account that does so you can still keep in touch with friends and family!  Some national email providers, for example Verizon, have a tendency to block your account when your accessing your it from a foreign IP address.  Most major email providers support international use simply because people all over the world use them.  Better yet you can even add your regular inbox into your new email so that you can read and send all of your emails from one place!

Go to http://www.windows.com/microsoftaccount to set up a new Microsoft email address today to use on your international cruises.

Next up is the issue of your major email providers blocking your account when you are overseas.  This is something that has been increasingly common over the last year or two, most email providers will do this to stop anyone who isn’t you from accessing your emails.  Although it can be frustrating it vastly increases safety and protects your privacy and data.

To make this process a lot more straight forward you need to change your security settings before you travel, first of all access your email account by going to Outlook.com.  Once logged in click your settings cog in the top right corner then select Options in the drop down list below.

Email 1

Once you are here you need to select Account details under the Managing your account title.

Email 2

From here, you’ll be asked to log in again to confirm it really is you (you’re about to access some pretty sensitive details here!).

Next you want to select Security & privacy.

Email 3

Next up (nearly there :D) you want to go to your Account security section and select Manage advanced security.

Email 4

From here you want to select Add security info.

Email 5

You will then be asked how would you like to be contacted, try to add as much information as possible such as up to date phone numbers and alternative email accounts.  This way, if you are blocked from accessing your account you will have a lot more ways of being contacted.  I would suggest adding the email address of who ever may be travelling with you or maybe a friend or family member.

Just make sure you do all of this before you travel!

Happy sailing everyone!

Rob

What System Restore Can and Cannot Do to Your Windows System

22 Jan

Every time your system gets corrupted or when something goes wrong, like bad drivers or misconfigured settings, the first thing that comes to our mind is to restore the system to the previous good state. Actually, it is one of the most suggested options as it is not only easy to perform but solves some of the basic problems like corrupted system files. But as useful as it is, there is a lot of ambiguity and some misconceptions about what Windows System Restore can and cannot do whenever you perform a system restore to fix things up. So let’s find out and clear up the confusion on what the system restore can and cannot do on your system.

What is System Restore

To put it simply, System Restore is a built-in feature which can be used to roll back to a previous known good state. This feature is particularly helpful whenever you want to roll back major changes made to the system. System Restore points can be created manually but are also automatically created in the event of any supported major changes to system configurations or while installing programs or Windows updates. If you have multiple restoration points, you can pick and choose the one that suits your current situation. clip_image001

Effects on Windows Programs

Whenever you perform a system restore on your Windows machine, your installed Windows programs will be affected. Any programs installed after the restoration point will be uninstalled and vice-versa. The only problem you should be aware of is that some programs like AntiVirus software, etc., may not respond as they should once restored and require you to reinstall the affected software to function properly. In fact, whenever you restore your Windows system, Windows will list all the affected programs right in the restoration wizard. So always check for the affected programs before proceeding to restore your Windows system.

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Effects on Windows System Files

System restoration affects almost all the system files. So whenever you restore your system, any changes made to your system files, system programs, and registry settings will be rolled back to the restore point. Moreover, any deleted or changed system scripts, batch files, and any other executables will also be restored. If you have corrupted system files, then restoring your system to a previous time may help you to get your system back up and running.

Effects on Windows Updates

Just like the installed programs, System Restore will also affect Windows Updates. So whenever you restore your system, any uninstalled Windows updates will be reinstalled and any updates that are installed after the restoration point will be uninstalled. The same also applies to any installed or uninstalled hardware drivers. Since the hardware devices are affected by the changes in driver software, make sure that you always update, install or uninstall the driver software accordingly.

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Effects on Personal Files

Although system restore can change all your system files and programs, it will not delete or modify any of your personal files or data stored on your hard drive. For instance, if you have stored your documents or pictures in the “My Documents” folder located in the C drive and later restored your system, the files will not be affected in any way and are kept intact throughout and after the restoration process.

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Effects on Viruses or Other Malware

System Restore will not remove or clean viruses, trojans or other malware. These malicious software behave rather differently from the regular software and sometimes will be deeply integrated into your Windows operating system. If you have an infected system, it is better to install some good antivirus software to clean and remove virus infections from your computer rather than doing a system restore.

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Effects on Deleted Data

System Restore will certainly restore your system files and programs, but it is not a tool to recover your deleted files or data. The workings of the System Restore feature is entirely different from how data recovery software works. So never ever use the System Restore feature as an option to recover your files and data. If you ever want to recover your deleted data, it is recommended that you use some sort of data recovery program to get the job done. Please remember that both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 have a built-in back and recovery program provided for you use.

That’s all there is to do, and hopefully the above points will give you a good idea of what System Restore can and cannot do in the process of restoring your Windows system.

For the Holland America Digital Workshop Powered by Windows, I am

Frank Barcelona Techspert VOLENDAM

A Different Kind of Drive

19 Jan

Aloha again from the MS Veendam! This is Amanda and I wanted to tell you about a few of the different drives that you can find on the market.

There’s a wide variety of storage for devices on the market today, and the two most common forms of internal storage are the HDD (Hard Disk Drive, aka Hard Drive) and the SSD (Solid State Drive). Both of these types of storage have their positive features and drawbacks. You can also use these in combination with one another for the best results.

HDD (Hard Disk Drive) If you’ve used a desktop, you’ve probably used a hard disk drive. These use disks (called platters) that look similar to CDs. These became the primary method of storing programs and files around the ‘60s.

Pros: High Capacity – You can easily find hard drives up to and beyond 4 Terabytes worth of space. Inexpensive – Even when buying high capacity hard drives, you’re paying pennies per Gigabyte.

Cons: Speed – Since the hard drive uses mechanical parts, it’s much slower than its Solid State cousins. Size – Hard drives are unlikely to continue shrinking, due to the size of the platters used.

SSD (Solid State Drive) Solid state drives are more commonly found in smaller devices such as laptops. These do not use platters, but flash memory chips.

Pros: Speed – Solid state drives are significantly faster than hard drives. Your operating system boots in seconds! Size – Since the solid state drive uses flash memory, it doesn’t have to be a particular size to accommodate platters the way that a hard drive does.

Cons: Price – Solid state drives are significantly more expensive than hard disk drives. You can get 4+ terabytes of space very inexpensively with a hard disk drive, but with a solid state drive a 2 terabyte unit will costs thousands of dollars. Limited Write/Erase – Solid state drives have a finite number of times that content can be written and erased.

Using a dual-drive system: When using a tower desktop, a good choice can be to invest in both a solid state drive and a hard disk drive. A solid state drive with 250 gigabytes worth of storage space is more than enough to accommodate one’s operating system and programs. You can then find inexpensive storage space with a hard disk drive to store all of your photos, documents, music, and other files in your PC. The solid state drive will allow you to quickly access and use your programs, while the hard disk drive will give you plenty of extra space to store your files!

Next time you’re looking into purchasing a PC, consider your options and what will work best for you!

  • Amanda Barham | MS Veendam

How to Know if your Hard Disk is Failing.

11 Dec

As most of us know, hard disks, just like any other electronic devices, have a limited lifespan and could break down after five to ten years of usage. There are a lot of factors that can affect the lifespan of a hard disk like the mechanical stress, temperatures, humidity, working conditions, physical trauma, finite number of write cycles (in case of SSD’s), etc. Luckily, most hard drives do show some symptoms before they die on you. Here are a few common wear and tear signs which can help you back up your precious data when you still have time to do so.

Corrupted Files

If your files are frequently corrupted, it could be a signal to inform you that your hard disk lifespan is coming to an end soon. Of course, these corrupted files may occur due to several other reasons like overclocking SATA bus, driver issues, sudden power failure, etc., but whenever you encounter this frequently, it is always a good idea to back up your data and diagnose your computer for problem.

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Slow Response Time and Transfer Rates

Whenever the hard disk is at its limit, its performance also reduces significantly which in turn causes slow response times and transfer rates. The performance drop is so significant that your hard disk may take several minutes to transfer even a small audio file, or it takes too much time to even open a simple program like Windows Explorer. Even though detecting this symptom is kind of easy, deducing it may be a little tricky as the reasons may include several other factors like system load, fragmentation, infections, etc. Slow performance may not indicate immediate failure, but backing up your data as a precaution is never a bad thing.

Increased Bad Sectors

Accumulated bad sectors and frequent freezing are also a bad sign that your hard disk is at its end. For those of you who don’t know, hard disks store data in tiny clusters. Whenever these clusters got corrupted or damaged, that part of the hard disk is no longer functional and thus called bad sectors. These bad sectors can cause some serious irrecoverable damage to your data. Generally, bad sectors may occur due to logical errors (software) which can be repaired using a specialized software or could be due to physical damage like mishandling of the hard disk. Simply put, accumulated bad sectors are a strong reminder to have a good back up of your data.

Odd Noises and extreme heat

Odd noises and extreme heat are yet more major indicators that your hard disk is going to die soon. Mechanical hard drives tend to make some noise while functioning due to several moving parts inside it. But in the event of physical damage or deterioration, your hard disk may produce some odd clicking and grinding noises. There are quite a few reasons for these strange noises like the damaged header, failed motor, etc. No matter what the reason is, if you are hearing strange noises from your hard drive then it just indicates that you don’t have much time to back up your data.

Conclusion

Learning signs to know when your hard disk is going to fail is all good as it allows you to make quick backups to avoid any data loss.

For the Holland America Digital Workshop powered by Windows, I am

Frank Barcelona Techspert Amsterdam

Getting Help When You Need It

24 Nov

Aloha from the MS Veendam! This is your Techspert Amanda, and I wanted to go over a handy little feature that can be found within your settings charm.

You may be familiar with the way that your settings charm allows you to access different tools to alter things like your backgrounds and colors, but there’s another option available in certain apps and areas of your PC: Help.

The Help option in your settings charm is particularly useful when you are still familiarizing yourself with navigating Windows 8.1 and its features. Let’s take a look at a few examples!

Let’s say that we’re in the Start Screen and we’ve forgotten how to pin applications or access other available features. We need only reveal our charms (my favorite method is by using the Windows Logo Key + C) and select settings. Once we select the settings charm, it will reveal the options available, including Help.

StartScreenSettings

Once we select Help from the settings charm, it will launch a webpage dedicated to the Start Screen.

StartScreenHelp1

As we continue to scroll down the web page, we reveal tips and step-by-step directions on how to navigate and customize your start screen. Seeing as how we were looking to pin applications to the start, we would scroll to that section in the help page and follow the directions listed.

StartScreenHelp2

Another useful feature of this Help tool is that it will open a webpage in whichever environment you are in. For example, when we opened the Help tool in the Start Screen, it opened a help web page in the Internet Explorer app. However, when we select Help while in the desktop environment, our Help page is launched in a desktop-friendly Help and Support program.

DesktopHelp

Last, but not least: Especially when you are first starting out in Windows 8.1, not only should you keep the Help option in mind as you navigate through, but remember too that you have the Help and Tips app available to assist you with your transition into the Windows 8.1 environment.

HelpTipsMain

The Help and Tips app has comprehensive information regarding how to navigate and use the Windows 8.1 Operating System, and even allows you to narrow down your information by whether you are using Touch or a Mouse!

HelpTipsTouchMouse

Whatever your endeavors within the Windows 8.1 environment, remember that there are tools available to help you on your way!

  • Amanda Barham | MS Veendam

See More with Magnifier!

13 Nov

Have you ever had trouble reading small print or pictures on your computer?  If so, then let me introduce you to Magnifier.

magnifier

Magnifier is a useful tool that enlarges part—or all—of your screen so you can see the words and images better.

It is built into Windows 7 and 8 and comes with a few different settings, so you can use it the way that suits you best.

Getting Started

You can open and close Magnifier quickly so it’s handy when you need it and it’s out of your way when you don’t.

To open Magnifier using a keyboard:

1. Press the Windows logo key (between Function and Alt) and “+” (plus sign).

2. Magnifier will open in Full-screen view unless you change the viewing mode (See below).

To close Magnifier:

To exit Magnifier quickly, press the Windows logo key and “Esc” key. You can also click the magnifying glass icon and then click the Close button on the Magnifier toolbar.

Viewing Options

Magnifier offers several different modes which can be changed by clicking on the “Views” button once Magnifier is activated.

magnifierviewoptions

  1. Full-screen. In this view, your entire screen is magnified. You probably won’t be able to see the whole screen at the same time when it’s magnified, but as you move around the screen, you can see everything. If you have a touchscreen, Magnifier will display white borders around the edge of your screen. Drag your finger or mouse along the borders to move around the screen.
  2. Lens. In this view, when you move around the screen, it’s like moving a magnifying glass around.
  3. Docked. Docked view works on the Windows desktop. In this view, a magnifier is docked to a portion of your screen. As you move around the screen, parts of the screen appear magnified in the docking area, even though the main part of the screen is unchanged.

Try them all to find out which one you prefer!

To find out more about this and other useful features, be sure to visit us in the Digital Workshop Powered by Windows on your next Holland America Line cruise.

John Roberts – ms Rotterdam

Fun with Windows Photo Gallery’s Photo Fuse: Adding People to Your Pictures

10 Nov

Techspert Jessica here, writing from the ms Prinsendam as it works its way across the Atlantic towards Ft. Lauderdale.  I’m just about to disembark from the ship, so I’m spending some time looking back through my photos taken in all of the amazing ports we’ve been visiting over the past few months in Europe.  Not only have I had the opportunity to take some great shots, I’ve had some fun along the way with photo editing.

We’ve featured some posts here on our blog in the past looking at the Photo Fuse tool in Windows Photo Gallery.  There are some great things you can do with this tool, including removing people from images or crafting creative, dynamic photos by combining color and black-and-white photography.  But what I’ve been having fun playing with is not how to remove people from my shots, but how to put more people in.

To do this, I had to get some help from my friends.  A trip to the ancient Roman amphitheater ruins in Durres, Albania, was the perfect opportunity.  I stood in one spot on the “stage” of the amphitheater while my friends chose a seat somewhere up in the stands (or what’s left of them).  I snapped the first picture, as seen here:

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As soon as I had taken the picture, I yelled, “MOVE!”, and my friends ran to sit in a new spot.  I then snapped the next picture:

DSC00163 (2)

We kept doing this again and again until we thought we had enough pictures, six different shots in all with my friends sitting in six different locations (see “Tips & Tricks” below for some info on capturing the pictures in the right way).  Once I had the pictures, the photo editing fun began.

First, I transferred all of the photos onto my computer and opened them up in Photo Gallery.  Then, I selected all six of the photos (see “Tips & Tricks” below for an easy way to do this) and selected “Photo Fuse” (found on the Create ribbon).

Capture 1

Photo Gallery layered the photos one on top of the other, with a window showing the other layers for a specific area that I selected. In the example here, I clicked on my friend in the yellow shirt, and the window that says, “Which do you like best?” shows me that same spot on the layers that are behind the one that I can currently see.

Capture 2

The next step was to locate my friends in each of the other photos.  It took a bit of hunting at times to find them, because I could only see the picture that was on top, but when I found another copy of one of my friends, all I had to do was click on that option, and Photo Gallery brought that other copy of my friend to the top layer.  The result was that I now had two – or three or four or five! – copies of my friend in the picture.  In the example below, I’m just about to click on the second copy of my friend to bring it into the photo, to replace an area that was originally empty.

Capture 3

In the final picture that you can see here, it looks like there are 18 people in the photo.  But when you look closer, you can see that it is really just each of my three friends, repeated in six different places.

DSC00162 Fuse (2)

You can probably see why I love Photo Fuse so much and why I think it’s such a fun tool to work with.  I hope you have as much fun as I do creating fun, interesting photos using Windows Photo Gallery.

 

Tips and Tricks:

-When taking photos that you plan to use with Photo Fuse, make sure that the camera stays as still as possible.  Photo Gallery can help adjust for really small changes from photo to photo, but it won’t be able to adjust for big changes, nor will it be able to adjust for zooming in or out.

-To help keep the camera steady when shooting without a tripod, choose an object that you can line up with before taking each shot.  In my pictures here, I tried to make sure I had the cave-like entrance always lined up in the bottom right of each of my photos before I snapped the picture.

-When in doubt, take more photos rather than fewer!  You can decide to throw some out or to not include them in your final picture if they don’t turn out great.  But if you only take 2 or 3 pictures to begin with, you don’t really have any wiggle room to work with and will be forced to use every single picture.

-Make sure everyone in your photo choses a unique location to sit/stand!  I had a couple pictures that I couldn’t use because one friend happened to sit in the exact same location another friend had sat a few pictures before, meaning that they would have been sitting on top of each other in the final photo.

-When in Photo Gallery selecting multiple pictures to fuse together, there’s an easy trick we can use if the photos are all next to each other, one right after the other.  Start by doing a single left click on the first photo.  Then, hold down the Shift key on the keyboard and then do a single left click on the last picture you’d like to select.  Finally, let go of the Shift key.  Holding down the Shift key allows you to select any pictures in between your first and your second clicks; just remember to click on the correct picture before holding down Shift!

Microsoft Health – Something New from Microsoft for healthier living.

2 Nov

Microsoft Health is a new service that helps you live healthier by providing actionable insights based on data gathered from the fitness devices and apps that you use every day. It’s designed to work for you, no matter what phone you have, device you wear, or services you use. Microsoft Health makes tracking personal fitness easier, more insightful, and more holistic. clip_image002

Microsoft Health is a cloud-based service that helps you live healthier by providing actionable insights based on data gathered from the fitness devices and apps that you use every day. Activity-tracking devices like the new Microsoft Band, smart watches, and mobile phones plus services like RunKeeper or MyFitnessPal connect easily to Microsoft Health. Using this fitness data and our Intelligence Engine in the cloud, Microsoft Health provides valuable, personal insights so you can reach your fitness goals.

What are Actionable insights?

Find out which exercises burned the most calories during your last workout. Or how long your body needs to recover before your next training session. Or how much restful sleep you actually got last night. Microsoft Health uses the power of the cloud to give you real-time wellness insights that will help you achieve your fitness goals.

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Open to everyone.

Microsoft Health is designed to work with you, no matter what phone you have, device you wear, or service you use. The power of the cloud platform lies in its ability to combine the data from all the devices and services you use to give you a more holistic and insightful picture of your fitness.

Technology innovation.

The Intelligence Engine at the heart of Microsoft Health uses everything we’ve learned as a company about cloud technology and hardware innovation and makes it work for you. With data privacy and security a top priority, Microsoft Health is committed to delivering valuable, personalized fitness insights, empowering you to lead a healthier lifestyle. 

Microsoft Band, powered by Microsoft Health.

Designed to showcase the power of Microsoft Health, Microsoft Band tracks your heart rate, steps, calorie burn and sleep quality with advanced, highly innovative sensors. It also helps you be more productive with email previews and calendar alerts at a glance.* Microsoft Band works across platform on your Windows Phone, Android™, and iPhone®.

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It All Works with Health Vault – Microsoft’s Trusted Repository for your Health Records and Fitness Goals.

For all of you using Health Vault, this new service will be an addition to your already useful cloud based service. Expanding the way you stay fit. And making life easier and healthier.

For the Holland America Digital Workshop, Powered by Windows, I am

Frank Barcelona Techspert Noordam

One of the Cloud’s Silver Linings

31 Oct

One of my favorite features of Windows 8.1 is the way it uses the cloud. Windows makes use of your Internet connection in ways that previous versions did not. If you wish, you can configure it to automatically save any of your files on-line. This allows you to easily access them from anywhere on any of your computers. Plus, those files are backed up on-line so they’re not at risk if something untoward happens to your computer.

It’s also possible to back up your settings: your Start screen arrangement, all your customizations, your Internet favorites, your apps, etc. Recently I acquired a new computer and, while setting it up, I simply entered the same User ID that I used on the old computer. Once it finished doing its thing, all was just as it was on the old computer. I was pleasantly surprised at how many settings and preferences were backed up and then automatically restored.

This can be useful if you have multiple computers in your life. They can all be synchronized so that you don’t have to reorient yourself when going from one computer to another. You can then “take your computing experience” with you wherever you go.

Backing up the settings is also pretty handy if you need to refresh your computer to solve a problem—all the settings and customizations are stored on-line and downloaded when needed.

To make this happen:

  • On your primary computer, go to the Settings charm and select “Change PC settings”.
  • Select “OneDrive”.
  • Select “Sync settings”.
  • At the very bottom of the list of settings that appears, look for “Back up your settings for this PC” and set it to “On”. On your secondary computers, leave this setting turned off.

Now, whenever you are running one of your other computers, it will match the settings on the primary one. It’s just that simple!

Your trusty Techspert,
John B.

The Maps App: A Handy Travel Tool

9 Oct

 

Hello Everyone!

Kristin here, writing from somewhere in the South Pacific aboard the beautiful Volendam on our way to Australia.  I wanted to write a little something about one of my favorite built in apps that come with the Windows 8.1 operating system, the Maps App.  I absolutely love to travel, not just by cruise ship, but also by other means.  Many times when I am in a different town, state or country it can be pretty intimidating trying to navigate around on your own, especially if you are trying to use public transportation.  I always try to use public transportation when possible which can save time and money but trying to figure out which buses or trains to catch (especially in different countries) can sometimes seem to be more daunting than just flagging down a cab.  The Windows Maps App has come to my aid many times in these situations.  Here are the steps to be able to utilize this handy app. Enjoy!

Bon Voyage,

Kristin

 

Step 1: Open the App

Step 1

 

Step 2: Select Search and get directions.

 

step 2

 

Step 3: Select Direction

step 3

 

Step 4: Select the bus which is for public transportation (train, bus, subway).

The other two icons are the car (private transport) and a human figure (for walking)

 

step 4

 

Step 5: Type in the where are you (or are going to be) in the A and then the destination in B

step 5

 

Step 6: Choose a Route

Step 6

 

Step 7: Once  you have chosen the route it is then displayed

step 7

 

Step 8: You can then choose an action to print, share or create a favorite

step 8

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