Archive | November, 2015

5 Things to Do Before Upgrading to Windows 10

25 Nov

Windows 10 is a welcome upgrade . There are several improvements over the previous versions, like Windows 7 and 8, in terms of aesthetics, features, and functionality. Most of all, Windows 10 is free for all genuine Windows 7 and 8 users until July 29th, 2016. That being said, it has been well over three months since Windows 10 was released, and you might be considering an upgrade to Windows 10.

Though the process of upgrading is simple and straightforward, there are a few things that you should do before upgrading. This ensures a smooth upgrading experience and no waste of time after upgrading.

Check for Hardware Compatibility

This is a no-brainer, the first thing you should do before upgrading is to check to see if your system hardware can run Windows 10. Though the system requirements for Windows 10 are not that demanding, below are the minimum system requirements. In fact, if you are currently running Windows 7 or 8, then you are good to go.

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit or 20 GB for 64-bit
  • Graphics: DirectX 9 or later
  • Display: 800×600


Alternatively, if you have the “Get Windows 10” app installed, then you can check for both the software and hardware compatibility from it.

You can learn more about the requirements and other instructions from this official Windows 10 specifications page.

Uninstall Unwanted Programs and Free Up Space

Before upgrading to Windows 10, make sure that you uninstall any and all unnecessary applications, especially any antivirus, malware and firewall software. Because of how they work, security software can sometimes cause problems after upgrading. You can uninstall the programs from the “Programs and Features” in the Control Panel.

Moreover, depending on your current Windows installation, you will need extra space on your C drive so that Windows can back up your current version before upgrading to Windows 10. Make sure that you have at least 15 to 20GB of extra space on your C drive. This helps you downgrade to the previous version if you ever need to.


Back Up Your Files, Folders, and Product Keys

Although Windows lets you keep installed programs, personal files, and folders while upgrading, it is always a good thing to back up all your files and folders in the C drive. When I say C drive, I’m taking about all general locations like Desktop, Downloads, Documents, Music, Video, Pictures, etc. Just manually scan the drive and back up as necessary.

If you are using premium products like Microsoft Office, then back up the product keys using a free software like ProduKey, just in case. This lets you reinstall and register them quickly, if necessary.


Download Drivers Beforehand

Drivers are an important part of Windows, as they are responsible for the communications between the hardware and software. Before upgrading to Windows 10, check that your hardware vendor supports it and has released compatible drivers. You can check for the driver updates in the official vendor websites. If the drivers are available, then download them so that you can install them as soon as you are done upgrading.

This is an essential thing to do if you have a slow or unreliable Internet connection.

Remove or Disconnect Unnecessary Peripherals

This is one of the most ignored things, but you should always remove or disconnect any unnecessary peripherals, as they may sometimes interfere with the upgrading process which results in a failed upgrade. When I say unnecessary peripherals, I’m talking about things like attached Bluetooth devices, USB hubs, external hard disks, external keyboard and mouse (in case of laptops), etc.


Since the upgrading process has been improved so much, there shouldn’t be any problem(s), and I personally haven’t faced an issue while upgrading. That doesn’t mean you won’t face problems, so follow the above steps and always have a backup plan. If you’ve done everything as said, then you are good to upgrade your system to the all-new Windows 10.

For the Holland America Digital Workshop powered by Windows I am

Frank Barcelona DW host NODM

Better Browsing with Microsoft Edge

21 Nov

For years, Microsoft’s built-in option for browsing websites was Internet Explorer.  With the introduction of Windows 10, however, we now have a new built-in option, Microsoft Edge, for perusing all our favorite web content.  Here are some tips for making the most of Microsoft Edge, including a close-up look at some exciting new features that set Edge apart from other browsers.


Get access to the websites you want

As with Internet Explorer, if you find a website that you like and you want to access it in the future, you can add that website to your favorites list.  Simply go to that website and then click on the star at the right end of the address bar.  You’ll get an option to either add that website to your Favorites or to your Reading List.

01_Favorites (2)

Add a website to your Favorites

Already have a list of favorites in Internet Explorer that you’d like to see in Edge?  Open the Hub, look for “Import Favorites”, and you’ll be surfing your old websites in no time.


Import favorites from Internet Explorer

Another convenient option for accessing websites again in the future is to add a new tile to your Start menu.  The great thing about this is you’ll be able to arrange your tiles in groups, resize them, name them, and get them set up in whatever way is most efficient and effective for you.  The best part about pinning a website to Start, though? The website can take advantage of the live tile feature that allows content to be displayed on the surface of the tile, so you can get quick, easy access to the information you care about without even having to open up the website where the information is coming from.


Pin a website to Start

You Read My Mind…

One of the best things about accessing online content like news and articles is the amazing access to such a vast array of information.  Unfortunately, this great advantage is coupled with a major annoyance: all the ads, links, and other distracting content typically displayed around the news and articles.  Microsoft Edge includes an innovative Reading View feature that makes reading online much more enjoyable.  To activate Reading View, click on the book symbol at the right end of the address bar.


Activate Reading View with the book icon

You’ll immediately notice a number of significant changes to the layout of the website.  First, all of that extra fluff (to put it nicely) like ads and links is gone.  The background has been changed to off-white, instead of the typical harsh, bright white background that’s not so easy on the eyes.  Also, the article, if it wasn’t already, is centered on the page, and the text is in a different, clearer font, larger size, and wider spacing.  Overall, the page is optimized for reading, more like what you’d expect on an e-reader than a website.  You can even send the page to the printer as-is, to cut down on wasting ink, or liquid gold, as I like to call it.


Reading View looks more like an e-reader, less like a website

Still not exactly as you’d like it?  Click on the three little dots in the top right of Edge to access the menu, then click on Settings.  There, you’ll find options for customizing the Reading View, such as changing the background color or making the font larger or smaller.


Customize Reading View with a few easy clicks

I’ll make a note of it…

See something in the article that caught your eye and you want to make a note of it?  Now you can actually take notes right there on the screen thanks to Edge’s Web Note feature.  To access your tools, click on the icon that looks like a little piece of paper with a pencil near the top right of the window.


Activate Web Note by clicking the paper-&-pencil icon

A bar appears across the top of the screen with a number of tools, all for your note-taking pleasure.  You can choose different colors for the pen and the highlighter and use them to single out important parts of the article or write notes off to the side.  And we’re not saying you make mistakes, but just in case, there’s also an eraser to get rid of the evidence if you do.  You can also add a typed note somewhere on the screen, or use the snip tool to capture a specific part of the screen and then save it as a photo.


Web Note gives you several useful tools

If you have a touch-screen device, you can use a stylus or your finger to actually write right there on the screen, just as if it were a piece of paper in front of you.  Don’t have a touch screen?  No worries, as you’ll still be able to take full advantage of the Web Note feature just by clicking and dragging your mouse pointer to do your highlighting or trace out the notes you want to write.


Highlight and write your notes right on the webpage

Ready to save it all, or better yet, share the notes (and the article with it) with a friend?  Click or tap on Share in the top right of the window to see which options are available.


Select Share to see which options are available

Select Mail, and you’ll see a brand new email appear, already set up with an attachment that is a snapshot of the entire webpage that you were looking at.  The attachment is essentially just a photo, but it’s a long photo that contains not only the webpage but also all your notes that you added.  And the best part is that because it’s just photo, your recipient doesn’t need to be using Microsoft Edge, or even a Windows device, in order to receive and take a look at your notes.


Share your web notes by email


Whatever websites you enjoy surfing, hopefully you’ll find that the new features available in Microsoft Edge give you some great new options for accessing, reading, noting, and sharing the webpages that are important to you.

-Jessica Roehrig, on the beautiful Nieuw Amsterdam