Sunday, January 31, 2016

Class Summary 1-28-2016

Demonstrated the new SATA disk enclosure I received. Just plug in that old hard disk drive and use it as a USB flash drive to get at the data on it or even to use it as a backup drive.

A few things I forgot to mention from last weeks class:

We spent a little time looking again at Google Photos. More coming at February meeting when I spend the entire time on using it. See you at the meeting, 2-2-2016 at 7 PM.

I have recently been surprised at how many do not understand the use of the tabs available in all the popular browsers. When you open your browser, one tab is open. You search or type in a website address and the page appears. Then you want to go to another site. Many go back to the address bar and enter another address which closes the website you are viewing and opens the new one. If you want to go back to the other site you repeat the process. Some even close out of the browser and reopen it to open another site.

See that + next to the tab at the top of the window? Click it and you will open another tab. The original tab will still have the site you were look at. The new one can then be used to open a completely different website. You can add as many tabs as you need and switch between them by clicking a tab to return to it. To close a tab, mouse over the tab to see an X. Click and that tab will close without closing the entire browser.

A reminder on how to search through my club blog site. You can access the site by going to the club home page at and clicking on the link for my training or just go to You will be at the most current blog entry. To search prior entries use the site: function of the browser by entering this in the address bar:

xxxxx with xxxxx being the search words you want to use. For example, if you wanted to see previous entries about Macrium Reflect you might enter: reflect The site: function directs the browser to only look in that specific website for the answers. Once in the page you might use Ctrl+F to find the search words on that page.

Back to this weeks stuff…

The cloud storage we use has a limit to the amount of free space. Even in our cell phones. When my iPhone runs out of iCloud space I have to either remove some things I am backing up there or purchase more space at $10 or more a month. In that case I stop backing up my photos because I am using Google Photos to do that. Dropbox has a free limit, but you can purchase more. Same with OneDrive and Google Drive and others.

One of our members had a good definition for cloud storage the other day. He thinks of it as storage in “another room”. We don't know where the room is located, but it has all our stuff in it! I have rooms at dropbox, mozy, onedrive, google, amazon, and more.

No matter what version of Windows we have, Win+D will open an empty desktop. If we have things open, it will minimize them. If we are in Windows 8 and at the Start Screen (all those tiles) Wind+D will jump us back to the desktop.

When any window is open, you close it with the Big X or by taping Alt+F4. If the window is frozen, Ctrl+Alt+Del will open a screen giving you access to the Task Manager where you can force the window to close.

Right-click the taskbar and make sure it is unlocked. Now you can point to any open space on the taskbar and drag it to the top, right, left, or bottom of the screen. You can point to the top edge and when you see the double arrow you can drag up and down to make the bar larger or smaller. Right-click and choose Properties to have the bar autohide. When you mouse down to it, it appears.

If you have multiple windows on the screen you can drag one to the right and it will auto fill half the screen. Drag to a corner for one quarter of a screen. Then click another window at it will fill the other side.

Win+E will open the File Explorer window.

Win+X open the same pop up menu as right-clicking on the Start Button.

When in a browser, Ctrl+L jumps control to the address bar with everything selected.

Win+L locks the screen back at the signon screen.

Ctrl+F can be used in many applications and browsers to find something. And in many Ctrl+H is used to Find and then Replace.

There was much more, but this is what I made notes of. We spent a bit of time on the desktop and changing things like the background images and colors. And more I am sure.

Hey, at this months meeting you can take a chance on a nice laptop… See you there.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Class Summary 1-21-2016

Had a question about toolbars in Internet Explorer. The top bar in any window is called the title bar. You can double click it or drag it to the top of the screen to make it fill the entire window. You can also click the square in the upper right corner--next to the X.

If you right click on the title bar and selection pops up. Click the checkmark to the left of an item to turn that tool bar off or click the empty space to turn it on and see a checkmark. This is how you can control the toolbars that appear in IE. This is not the case in Chrome or Firefox.

The taskbar is that bar that appears on the bottom of the desktop. On the left is the Start button and on the far right is the date and time.

Right-click in an empty spot on the taskbar and a selection will appear. If the taskbar is locked (checkmarked) you will not be able to make changes to it. Make it is unlocked. You can grab the top edge of the taskbar and drag up to make the bar larger or down to make it smaller. You can even drag the bar to the top, right, or left of the desktop. Some have done this and wondered why the bar moved.

When left dragging a file or folder to another location on the hard drive, the default action is a MOVE. The file/folder is removed from the original location and placed in the new location. This is also true when you move a file/folder to or from OneDrive is a folder on the same drive as all of your other folders and files.

Instead of left dragging, right drag. When you release the right mouse button a selection will appear. The bolded action is what would have occurred is you had used the left mouse button. Chose the desired action and left click on it. An alternative way is to left drag and hold the Ctrl key down. This reverses action from MOVE to COPY.

When working with different drives such as your hard disk and a USB Flash drive or external hard disk, left dragging defaults to a COPY. The right drag will still bring up the selection or use the Ctrl key to reverse the COPY to a MOVE.

A question was raised as to how to display picture in a slide show. Windows comes with a photoviewer that has that option. It is called Photos in Windows 10.

Right click a photo in the folder you want to show and select Photos. When the photo appears, press F5 and all the photos in that folder will display, one at a time, in a slide show.

I like to use PhotoStory 3. It is a free download from Microsoft that works on all versions of Windows from XP to 10. You import the pictures you want to use and then it builds an animated slide show for you. You can add music, narration, titles, and more. Easy to use, it creates a movie file you can send to someone else or even post it on your Facebook page or YouTube.

Another discussion on storing photos in the cloud. We discussed using dropbox and uploading the to Google Photos. Dropbox stores 2.25gb free and charges for additional space. you can store anything in your dropbox. Google photos is free with a Google account and you do not need to have a gmail account to have a Google account. The account is free and they give you unlimited cloud storage for your photos. Check it out. Both Dropbox and Google photos are available as apps for your smartphone so as you take pictures they can be immediately automatically synced to your cloud account.

See to sign up for Dropbox.

I mentioned that you can obtain an enclosure for an old hard drive you might have on the shelf somewhere, possibly from updating from an older computer. The old drive fits into the enclosure and then becomes an external hard drive useful as a super large USB flash drive or even as a backup device.

I mentioned a white paper I wrote on what i use to maintain my computer. Here is a copy of that paper:

Friday, January 15, 2016

Class Summary 1-14-2016

Google Photos allows you to upload all your photos to an unlimited secure cloud. All you need is a Google account (does not have to be a gmail address). When you set up your free Google account you will have 15gb of free storage on Google Drive. There is an app for your smartphone that will automatically send the pictures you take to your Google drive. Access them at One thing to note: the storage in the photo cloud is free only if you let the photos be resized on the way up to the cloud. The resulting size is still large enough for a nice 8X10 print, but not the 3-5mb file size of the original. If you do not let them do that then the pictures end up in your free 15gb area.

Using browser tabs means you do not have to close one website to open another. Simply click the blank “square” to the right of the current tab and a new tab will open for you to search the web and open another website.

You can have as many tabs open as you wish. To close a tab, click the x on the right side of the tab.

Searching the class blog site is easy if you use this trick. In the browser address bar enter the name of the thing you are looking for. Let’s look for every article that contains the word reflect which is the image backup software we use.

reflect results in the following search results. The word site: tells the browser to only look at the site name that follows. If you want to search all of a certain top level domain such as all government sites you would enter

I only showed you the first 3 of the six. Click on each individually to “find” the day’s notes containing the word reflect. Let’s click on the second one.

This is the top of those notes. To find where the word reflect is found, use Ctrl+F. This brings up a search box. Enter the word reflect and it will take your right to the places it is found.

We talked about using Dropbox to store files in the cloud. It is free for the first 2gb of space. You and I get a bonus when you use this link to download it. Whatever you copy to your Dropbox you can then download to your computer or even share it with someone else. Easier than attaching a number of files to an email. Just create a folder in your Dropbox and upload your files to share into it. Share the folder and whoever you send the link to can download them or just look at them. They cannot change them on your Dropbox. Although you can install Dropbox on your PC and have any files you save in that folder traumatically sync to the Dropbox in the cloud, I do not suggest it. Simply go to a browser and open dropbox, sign in to your account and upload and download files. Here is the download link,

I demonstrated how to use Photostory to build simple but impressive slide shows in a few clicks of the mouse. You can download it at

I was asked how I created the cartoon character of me. I used a site called fiverr and hired someone for $5 to take an image file of me and create the cartoon. It took a couple of days to get it done, but it was a great job. For $5 you can get lots of different things done. Check it out.

A few months ago we demonstrated how to speak to your computer and have it type for you. You do that in Google docs. Open a new document in Google Docs and select Tools > Voice Typing. Now just talk into your microphone and what you say is type for you. Cool.

Ctrl + - 0 are nice shortcuts to remember. When you have a browser open use Ctrl + to magnify the screen, Ctrl - to make it smaller, and Ctrl 0 to bring it back to its normal size. Try it.

Prish Image Resizer is what I use to resize a photo or a group of photos before sending them by email or even uploading to Facebook. Smaller images move much faster through cyberspace. And most email sites have a limit on how large your attachments are. You simply right click on a picture or a group of them. One of the options will be to Resize with Prish Image Resizer.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Class Summary 1-7-2016

We spent some time understanding Restore Points. When Microsoft does updates and other major software installs on your PC, a restore point is taken so you can restore back to that point in time should something go wrong. This is not a backup. It is a snapshot of critical items. Should you encounter problems this is one of the first steps to getting your PC back to where it last worked well.

Control Panel > System > System Protection will open the above window. Then to make a restore point click Create. On the net window, give it a name and click Create. To return your PC back to a previous point in time, Click System Restore and follow the prompts.

For a more details on restore points see the Microsoft paper at

A good article about Don’t let’s freebie status fool you: This image editor may not have all the bells and whistles of Photoshop, but it packs everything that most people need (even layer-based editing) and costs hundreds of dollars less.

Here are some of the sites we explored where you can get free or deeply discounted products by agreeing to give them an honest review.

How to find the ip address of your computer 

Then we looked at a few Online Notepad sites. Good for quick notes and to clean background codes out of copy/paste.

edit only. save to PC. does not store online
edit and saves to cloud. can come back to note later on same PC

creates a URL like tinyurl so you can retrieve it from any PC

I know we must have discussed many other things. I guess the issue is recall. LOL