Newsletter Archives

  • Sadly, Windows 11 still isn’t great at multiple monitors


    Josh Hendrickson

    By Josh Hendrickson

    Microsoft promised that Windows 11 would finally make using multiple monitors a better experience. But for every improvement, there are still too many glitches.

    In fairness, I’ll admit up front that I’m an extreme case. My multi-monitor setup may not be the most extravagant in the world; but as you can see, I have a pretty fantastic setup.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.33.0, 2023-08-14).

  • Why PowerShell?

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    ISSUE 20.29 • 2023-07-17


    Bruce Kriebel

    By Bruce Kriebel

    For nearly 50 years, we’ve all been using the commands that originated from MS-DOS command line interpreter (CLI).

    This wasn’t a bad thing. Even when Windows came along, Microsoft provided a means to get to the CLI (the program cmd.exe) and continued to flesh out its capabilities. I’ll bet nearly everyone reading this has written a simple batch file using those commands.

    But there’s a better alternative.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.29.0, 2023-07-17).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Working with the Intel Driver & Support Assistant

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    ISSUE 20.25 • 2023-06-19


    Ed Tittel

    By Ed Tittel

    Intel’s share of the x86 processor market at the end of 2022 came out at nearly a two-to-one ratio for Intel vs. AMD.

    The Statista survey ascribes 62.8% of that market to Intel and 35.2% to AMD; the remaining 2% presumably belongs to ARM and “other CPUs” sometimes found in PCs.

    But other Intel devices, including PC chipsets and controllers, show up in PCs of all kinds. And that means Intel also supplies drivers to connect devices to Windows and allow them to do their jobs.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.25.0, 2023-06-19).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Getting rid of that pesky bing icon

    If you are a user of Edge, but not necessarily of Bing, nor a fan of the menu bar on the right side, be aware that you can now disable these in the GUI without needing a registry key edit.

    Open Edge’s Settings page.  Click on sidebar. Then select Discover. Click on the “Show Discover” on or off, depending on your preference.

    Then on the main sidebar setting,

    Turn off always show sidebar.

    I’m working on a “all those annoying things I turn off” document which will be in a future newsletter. Stay tuned for more!

  • 48 years and counting

    Love ’em or hate ’em, you have to admit… as we start another year – this company has dramatically changed computing.

    Microsoft was founded on April 4, 1975.

    I remember tax season when I first started at my firm – personal computers were relatively new and we filled out these paper input forms in order to prepare tax returns. The forms were then picked up by a courier, driven to the Airport, flown to Torrance, California where someone at CCH/Accutax/other tax vendors would input the information that we had entered on the input forms. They would print out the tax return, put them in envelopes, put them back on an airplane, flown back to Fresno and then a courier to drive around and drop them off at our office a few days later. If we messed up and got something wrong, we would have to enter a “revision” form and send them back for reprocessing. Once again having a courier pick up the change form, having it flown down to Los Angeles, and then back again with the revised tax return.  If the issue wasn’t THAT bad we would take whiteout liquid, cover up the error and type in the revisions ourselves. (I would ruin suit jackets getting not quite dried whiteout on the sleeves every tax season).

    Then came a tax year where farmer deadline was looming on 3/1 (Farmers get the ability to skip estimates if they file by 3/1) and the software company was behind on implementation of the tax changes that year and couldn’t get the farmer tax returns back in time. With four days before the looming deadline we installed a SINGLE IBM 8088 computer and a beast of an HP III printer.  The printer had to have tax font cartridges in order to print out a tax return (remember THOSE DAYS?) and we set up Lacerte tax software on that IBM 8088 (no, not built by Rene Lacerte of – but second cousins of his), and within a day we were cranking out our own tax returns and no longer relying on meeting the courier deadline, nor facing doing the farmer tax returns by hand.

    We have come a long way in technology in the years in between. Farmers this year are no longer facing a lack of water in Calfornia thanks to the storms we’ve had this year, but in some places too much water. As an aside, if you want to see the California wildflowers or extremely full waterfalls in Yosemite, this will be the year for it. When the snow finally starts melting up there it is going to be the year that will be picturesque for sure.

    I have no idea what the next 48 years will bring. However, I do know that all of us wouldn’t be here without Microsoft. For small businesses and individuals, it has been a game changer for sure. For all that the company can be annoying, it’s also been a dramatic game changer for how we interact with each other, with how we do business, with how we just deal with our daily lives.

    Here’s to the next 48 years.  Stick around and we’ll all see what happens.

  • How to take advantage of the Photos app in Windows


    Lance Whitney

    By Lance Whitney

    The Photos app in Windows 10 and 11 will help you view and organize all the photos and videos scattered across your PC and other devices.

    After years of shooting photos and videos, you may have thousands of them stored on your phone and your computer. And now you want to be able to access them all, preferably in one single spot.

    Designed for Windows 10 and 11, the built-in Photos app is a free and convenient way to manage and view all your photos and videos, no matter where they’re located.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.12.0, 2023-03-20).

  • How to choose and use the best PowerToys for Windows 10/11


    Lance Whitney

    By Lance Whitney

    Microsoft packs a lot of cool tools into its free PowerToys offering. Here are some of the best.

    Microsoft’s latest incarnation of PowerToys has been around for a few years. Geared for Windows 10 and 11, PowerToys aims to add more features and flexibility to Windows.

    But now there are more than 15 individual tools in PowerToys. How do you know which ones are worth trying? Let’s check out what I think are the best of the bunch.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.05.0, 2023-01-30).

  • Printers can drive you insane

    After months of print spooler patches hardening the print spooler so that attackers can’t use printers to gain a toe-hold into the network and then launch ransomware, printer vendors are having to go back and redo printer drivers/or you are having to install more modern drivers to deal with these issues.

    Show me a Patch Tuesday and probably SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE has hit a printing issue.

    I’ve had to reinstall/touch every printer in the office or home during the course of a year.  Yesterday I was fighting with an HP printer getting it to work reliably doing remote printing. But at first I couldn’t even get the Color Laserjet to recognize that it WAS a color printer in the first place.

    I showcase in this video the spot I found to get the device to “update now” and recognize it was a color printer.

    Now I’m trying “basic” printer drivers. I have to wait until tomorrow when the person is there to test if remote printing will now behave.