Newsletter Archives

  • Things that annoy me – Windows 11 edition

    You can tell that Microsoft is starting to react to some of the feedback on Windows 11, well at least their Enterprise customers.  In the Insider release comes new group policies:

    What’s new in Build 22610
    Additional new MDM and group policies for IT administrators
    We are introducing new policies so that IT administrators can simplify their Windows 11 experience across Start, taskbar, and the system tray. The following policies are available today:

    Disable Quick Settings flyout
    Disable Notification Center and calendar flyouts
    Disable all taskbar settings
    Disable search (across Start & taskbar)
    Hide Task View from taskbar
    Block customization of ‘Pinned’ in Start
    Hide ‘Recommended’ in Start
    Disable Start context menus
    Hide ‘All apps’ in Start
    To configure these new group policies locally, open the group policy editor and navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Start Menu and Taskbar. You can also deploy these policies via Microsoft Endpoint Manager as well.

    Let me know if you want any of these options in registry keys?  As typically if you can do it via group policy, you can also do it via a registry key in Home versions.

    You know what slows me down in Windows 11 the most?  The Cut and paste function in the File explorer.  It’s now hidden in the “show more options” section of the right mouse click

    Once you click on “show more options” then you see copy and paste.  Now yes, I can do control C and Control V, but that typically means I have to move my fingers off my mouse and over to the keyboard.

  • 5 free utilities to help you get more out of Windows 11

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    ISSUE 19.14 • 2022-04-04

    WINDOWS 11

    Lance Whitney

    By Lance Whitney

    You can squeeze more features and flexibility out of Windows 11 with the right utility programs.

    You’ve just upgraded to Windows 11. And maybe you like certain aspects of it but wish the new OS offered more capabilities. In many ways, Windows 11 is a minor upgrade to Windows 10, with visual changes and some new or redesigned features. But otherwise, it’s still the same old Windows with the same limitations and constraints.

    One way to make Windows 11 more robust and flexible is through a good utility program. An array of utilities is available that will enhance or improve the OS in both significant and subtle ways. Among the vast number of utilities out there, I’ve come up with five free ones: Microsoft PowerToys, ThisIsWin11, Files, BeWidgets, and Winaero Tweaker. Let’s check them out.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.14.0, 2022-04-04).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Do you want a bit more In private browsing?

    Do you use private mode or incognito mode in Firefox, Edge or Chrome?

    Do you know you can set it up so that the browser launches automatically in this mode. In the case of Chrome you can right mouse click on the icon on the desktop and go into the properties line at the top and adjust the application setting by putting -incognito at the end of the application line. Click okay, approve the change and now when you launch Chrome it will be in private or incognito mode all the time

    “C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” -incognito

    Firefox does it a little differently.

    Three-lined menu
    Options
    Privacy & Security
    Scroll down to History
    In the Firefox will drop-down menu choose Use custom settings for history

    Choose the button to have Firefox always use Private mode.

    Mind you when you do it like this, the browser will not have the visual dark background, it will just always be in that mode.

    If you want to see what I’m talking about, watch this video here. I showcase how to get to these private modes in Edge, Chrome, Firefox on 10 as well as 11.

    Why do you want to use private mode? Often websites give you different prices (travel sites in particular) when they don’t see cookies left behind from other searching. Bottom line there are lots of normal reasons why being a bit more private in your browsing is a good thing.

  • Is Windows 11 ready? Are we ready?

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    ISSUE 19.12 • 2022-03-21

    WINDOWS 11

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    We are a few weeks away from an event that most of us in technology consider a bellwether for any software — its six-month birthday.

    On April 5, Microsoft’s Windows 11 will reach that milestone. Six months in software typically means that the bugs have been worked out, the polish is going on, and the new software is finally starting to look like a cute, cuddly puppy. But just like a puppy, it’s still annoying us, chewing up shoes and Kleenex, and doing all those other things that remind us that it’s not yet housebroken.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.12.0, 2022-03-21).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Microsoft and the future of Hybrid work

    Microsoft is indicating that they will be doing a presentation on April 5th on Hybrid work and upcoming changes to Windows 11 professional.

    Meanwhile hopefully they’ve gotten enough feedback to NOT bring “ads” inside of file explorer.

    “This was an experimental banner that was not intended to be published externally and was turned off,” says Brandon LeBlanc, senior program manager for Windows, in a statement to The Verge

    Anyone else want to ask “Why were you even testing it internally in the first place?”

    I’ll be talking about Windows 11 in the upcoming newsletter coming out next week.

  • 11 settings to tweak on a new Windows 11 PC

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    ISSUE 19.08 • 2022-02-21

    WINDOWS 11

    Lance Whitney

    By Lance Whitney

    There are a bunch of settings you should configure before you fully dive into Windows 11.

    Let’s assume you’re running Windows 11 on a new or upgraded PC. Before you fully start working, playing, and hopping online, there are several key settings and features you should review, configure, or enable. By doing so, you’ll feel more at home with Windows 11. Among the settings to check are the Start menu, Taskbar, battery power, universal clipboard, and Windows Hello options.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.08.0 (2022-02-21).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Newsletter 19.08.F (2022-02-21).

  • Can you still have a Local account?

    The answer is:  I can’t test for sure to give you an answer.

    So first an apology. You aren’t getting a video tonight.

    I was all set to demonstrate with a video tonight that you could STILL get a local/non Microsoft account set up with Windows 11 professional as long as you unplugged the Internet connection at the proper point where it asked you for a Microsoft account.  I honestly think it’s still possible because what I think they did was to remove from the Professional version that little spot where you could get to a section where it let you set up an offline account. But I’m a person that wants to prove it, rather than just guess and theorize that it’s possible.

    So I was all the way through recording a video showcasing that it was possible when I realized that the ISO I have access to in order to test this is not build 22557, the one with the change, rather it’s a prior version 22533 that is in the developer ISO download section. That’s an earlier build and is not a true test.

    Bottom line stay tuned. I’m pulling this week’s video because it’s not a true test of version 22557.  As I can see the 22557 version is an upgrade only release at this time not an ISO. If you see an ISO out there on a Microsoft page for version 22557, let me know. Because I’m still going to prove that this is possible. So far there is a step by step here, but I’d like to find an easier way for sure.

    And in the meantime, give that feedback to Microsoft that demanding a Microsoft account during setup is not a good move on their part.

    Edit:

    Response posted to the Feedback hub item:

    aka.ms/WIP22557

    Added a link to a how to in the Knowledgebase section.

  • Windows 11 and the Microsoft account

    I’m sure you’ve seen in the headlines that once again Microsoft is being…. well Microsoft.  So far all those ITpros that said “oh it’s okay if Windows 11 Home users are mandated to use Microsoft accounts during setup”  ….  guess what… you are getting it next.  A Microsoft account appears to be mandated for set up in the upcoming preview dev build for not only Windows 11 Home but Windows 11 Professional as well.  I’m downloading it now to see if the old workaround (removing the network connection at a precise step) still works.

    In the meantime DEAREST MICROSOFT… how about you remove that “10 device” limit that last I checked is still in place when setting up devices with a Microsoft account.

    Sincerely:  A person who has often hit that limit when setting up test beds and virtual machines and then has to log in and remove old VMs that I no longer have just so I can continue to test.  Stay tuned will report on this more after personal testing.

    Edit:  The workaround still works.  I’ll do a video tomorrow night showcasing the workaround still works but rest assured you can still get around the Microsoft account requirement by pulling the network cable at a specific point in time.

    Edit:  I don’t have access to the right ISO to test.  Stay tuned.

  • First new Windows 11 functionality released in a cumulative update

    Microsoft has released February 15, 2022—KB5010414 (OS Build 22000.527) Preview (microsoft.com). Even though the title has “Preview” in it, this update is being released to everyone today. In addition to a long list of fixes, there is a new media player and notepad. Taskbar changes include adding the clock and date to multiple monitors. When the taskbar is center aligned the weather now appears on the taskbar at the left. An Amazon app store preview app is available in the Microsoft Store. See the above release notes for more details.

    Here is the blog post that Panos Panay published about this release – Bringing you closer to what you love with new experiences in Windows 11 | Windows Experience Blog.

    (Note from Susan – this is a preview update and will not be pushed to all, you have to ‘check for updates’ to get it. It WILL be in the next month’s cumulative update – look for the Alert for more info)

  • Turbo Tax and Windows 11 issues

    (Note: I’m putting this on the front page of the blog so that it gets more eyeballs and people can find it better. I’ve noticed a lot of people searching for this)

    So for several weeks now, people have been posting about an error with Turbo Tax and Windows 11. Mind you it’s not just occurring on Windows 11, but I’m seeing more posters discussing that platform.

    “I contacted Intuit support (800-446-8848) and apparently this is a known issue with TT 2021. As soon as I said “Install” she knew the problem.

    First off, my initial problem of getting the 2803  error was fixed by turning off the firewall.

    This still left me with the blank white activation screen. It seems that this is a known issue with the TT 2021 program. Apparently, it’s a resolution issue. At each step of the process, you need to change the resolution to be able to see what was supposed to be displayed. This is the process I had to follow:

    1. Launch the executable and wait for the white activation screen
    2. Change the resolution on your monitor. Magically, the contents of the window appear. Unfortunately, you can’t seem to be able to enter the license.
    3. Click once on the license window and enter the license number. You won’t see any change, but the information *IS* being entered. Best to use Ctrl-V to past the license.
    4. Change the resolution back to what it was
    5. Verify that the license you entered is correct
    6. Select to verify/continue
    7. Change the resolution again
    8. Keep doing this until you get to the registration screen.

    A this point, you should be OK. I was told, though, that this will happen again if you purchase anything (State tax?)”

    If you have any questions, please follow up in the forum. And if you are new here…. Hi!  We’re the site of Askwoody.com and we have lots of helpful people who love to answer questions when your computer isn’t quite working like you like. While we’re mostly a site about Windows, you’ll note that we have great forums covering Apple and Linux. So stick around and welcome!

  • Windows 11: When no doesn’t mean no

    WINDOWS

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    It all started when I saw reports of users who hadn’t approved the installation of Windows 11 but rebooted their computers to find them doing exactly that.

    These users assured me that they hadn’t approved the install. Worse, some had specifically declined the update, only to see it being offered again. I have a serious issue with Microsoft about this, because the company is not providing good information about what to expect if your PC qualifies for the Windows 11 upgrade. It’s guesswork so far; trying to determine what to expect has not been easy.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.02.0 (2022-01-10).

  • Two solid replacements for the kludgy Windows 11 Start menu

    WINDOWS 11

    Lance Whitney

    By Lance Whitney

    Don’t like the Windows 11 Start menu? Both Start 11 and StartAllBack will bring the menu back to more traditional and usable style and functionality.

    In its fervor to push out Windows 11, Microsoft made some key changes to the new OS — some good and some bad. On the bad side of the fence is the new Start menu. Dispensing with the familiar list and tile layout in Windows 10, Microsoft pared down the menu into a single box that shows only your pinned and recommended apps.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.48.0 (2021-12-13).