News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more. Tech help. No bull. We're community supported by donations from our Plus Members, and proud of it
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon

Blog Archives

  • Moving your kid’s schoolwork from a Chromebook to a Windows PC

    Posted on August 23rd, 2020 at 20:00 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Chromebooks have a lot of advantages, but the Chromebooks that most school districts hand out tend to be wimpy – little screens (no touch!), tinny sound, cramped keyboards.

    If your student already has a Windows PC, they may fare much better if you can move them from the Chromebook to the PC.

    My fifth grade son and I made the transition over the weekend. So far we haven’t hit any burps. We have full details in Monday’s AskWoody Newsletters (both Plus and Free).

    Have a different setup? Need some help? Here’s where to ask.

    (NOTE: The discussion has been moved here.)

  • 4.5 ways to use Office on a Chromebook

    Posted on July 20th, 2020 at 13:08 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Interesting article from Peter Deegan. If you really want to run Office on a Chromebook, you have these options:

    • Run the Android apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint or OneNote. You need an Office 365 subscription to run them on any Chromebook with a decent-sized screen ( > 10.1 inches).
    • Run the free online apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint or OneNote. The free online apps have several features that aren’t on the Android apps. No charge, but you’ll need a Microsoft Account.
    • Run the Office mobile app which is a severely limited narrow-screen-by-default mash-up of the Office apps.
    • Remote into a “real” PC or Mac. Good choice if you have fast connections, both on your Chromebook and on your “real” PC. We’re going to see something like this with Windows 10 Cloud. Wait. You’ll see.
    • … and the .5 solution goes to running Windows Office on a Chromebook with Parallels. Which should happen this decade. I think.
  • Ready to try out a Chromebook? Use your knowledge of Windows to get a head start.

    Posted on March 1st, 2020 at 17:11 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’m very happy to say that @PKCano has successfully transferred JR Raphael’s series of Newsletter articles into a unified post, AskWoody Knowledge Base article AKB5000001.

    JR Raphael (my favorite writer with Google DNA!) tackles the question in three parts:

    Part I: Is the Chromebook right for you?
    Part II: Which Chromebook should you buy?
    Part III: You’ve got a Chromebook. Now what?

    It’s an amazingly thorough introduction to Chromebooks, from a Windows user’s point of view.

    If you’re tired of Windows and its incessant problems — and don’t mind Google keeping track of your every move, which they do — the Chromebook is an excellent choice. I use mine every day. It’s my 9-year-old’s number 1 computer.

    Here’s a detailed look at what to expect from a Chromebook.

  • New Chromebooks will get 8 years of OS support

    Posted on January 22nd, 2020 at 06:55 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Talk about putting your money where your mouth is….

    Yesterday, the folks at Google dropped quite the bombshell:

    When we first launched Chromebooks, devices only received three years of automatic updates. Over the years, we’ve been able to increase that to over six…  And now, devices launching in 2020 and beyond will receive automatic updates for even longer. The new Lenovo 10e Chromebook Tablet and Acer Chromebook 712 will both receive automatic updates until June 2028.

    The announcement doesn’t come out and, you know, actually say it, and everything is couched in the “for education” bafflegab, but the implication is that new Chromebooks will get eight years of guaranteed support. You can see the end-of-support dates on Google’s Auto Update Policy page.

    The Pixelbook Go, for example, is guaranteed support until June 2026. The Microsoft Surface Go, by contrast, is guaranteed support through… I’m not sure if Windows 10 Home in S mode is being actively supported, really, even now. It doesn’t appear on Microsoft’s end-of-life page.

    Sales of new machines with Win7 pre-installed officially ended on October 31, 2016. Add eight years and you get… one whole heckuvalot later than Jan. 14, 2020.

    Ball’s in your court, Microsoft.

  • The Chrome OS FAQ, Part III: You’ve got a Chromebook. Now what?

    Posted on December 16th, 2019 at 01:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    GOOGLE CHROME OS

    By JR Raphael

    So now that you’ve read Parts I and II of our Chrome OS FAQ, you’ve worked out what Google’s operating system is all about — and possibly picked out the Chromebook that’s right for you.

    Whew! It’s been a busy couple of weeks. (If you missed the first two parts of this series, no worries: just head over to issues 16.44.0 (2019-12-02) and 16.45.0 (2019-12-09) to get all caught up.)

    Now we’re ready for the really fun part: taking your first steps into the world of your shiny new Chromebook. Getting around Chrome OS is mostly self-evident — especially if you’re an experienced Windows user — but there are some initial steps you’ll want to take to get everything set up and configured the way you like it.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.46.0 (2019-12-16).

  • The Chrome OS FAQ, Part II: Which Chromebook should you buy?

    Posted on December 9th, 2019 at 01:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    GOOGLE CHROME OS

    By JR Raphael

    In Part I of this three-part series on Google’s Chrome OS, we covered the ins and outs of Google’s Chrome OS software and the Chromebook laptops that rely on it (see AskWoody Plus issue 16.44.0, 2019-12-02).

    In this week’s Part II, we’ll go into greater detail on the hardware side of things — specifically, what you need to know to buy the best Chromebook for your needs.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.45.0 (2019-12-09).

  • Chrome OS FAQ, Part I: Is a Chromebook right for you?

    Posted on December 2nd, 2019 at 01:05 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    GOOGLE CHROME

    By JR Raphael

    AskWoody Plus readers will recall that, from time to time, we’ve recommended Google’s Chromebooks as a viable alternative for many Windows users.

    Whether you’re looking to move away from Windows entirely or to complement your primary computer with a low-maintenance secondary system, a Chrome OS–based Chromebook can be a nice addition to your digital life.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.44.0 (2019-12-02).

  • Chromebook expiration dates

    Posted on August 22nd, 2019 at 06:52 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Just read an article by Tim Anderson in The Reg that explains how to find your Chromebook’s “Auto Update Expiration” date.

    every Chromebook has an “Auto Update Expiration (AUE) Date” after which the operating system is unsupported by Google.

    That’s a concept every Windows user should understand – but the big difference is that Google sets the expiration date before the machine is put on sale. Microsoft arbitrarily decides when a specific chip goes out of support – and the decision is made way after initial release.

    I’ve seen ads for Chromebooks lately that include the AUE expiration date. But if you don’t know your Chromebook’s expiration date, it’s easy to look up. Google has a readily accessible list of machines and their expiration dates.

    If you can’t match up your Chromebook’s specific model name with an expiration date on the list, there’s an additional trick in The Reg article that shows you how to query the OS to get the correct model name. For most people, though, simply knowing which machine you have is enough to get you a definitive answer on when support ends.

    Per Anderson:

    You can continue to use your Chromebook after the AUE but the OS will be frozen in time and Google’s warnings above will apply. The device will show a notification along the lines of: “This device will no longer receive the latest software updates. Please consider upgrading.” … Security is an issue, though a Chromebook is one of the more secure devices out there thanks to the sandboxing of applications and other techniques, so it is less serious than it would be for, say, a Windows PC.

    My all-time favorite Chromebook fell off the AUE turnip truck more than a year ago. It’s still humming along, getting daily workouts both from me and my nine-year-old.

    Thx, @Kirsty