Microsoft Windows

Microsoft releases new Windows 10 preview with My People features

Microsoft today released a new Windows 10 preview for PCs, ahead of its May 2 event next week. The main addition is My People, a feature the company originally talked about in October 2016 when announcing the Creators Update, but ultimately delayed to later this year.

Windows 10 is a service, meaning it was built in a very different way from its predecessors so it can be regularly updated with not just fixes but new features, too. Microsoft has released many such updates, including three major ones: November Update, Anniversary Update, and Creators Update.

The goal of My People is to “bring the people you care about most to the center of your experience.” To try the new feature, open the Windows Store and make sure you have the latest updates for Skype, Mail, and People apps. Then click on the People icon in the taskbar and follow the setup instructions.

Microsoft is highlighting three My People features in this build: Pin people to the taskbar (up to three for now), view multiple communication apps together and filtered to each person on the taskbar, and choose your chat app. This is still very early days, but My People is based on your contacts from the aforementioned three apps.

Not specific to this build, but Windows Insider should know that Microsoft is improving Windows 10 Mail and Calendar for Gmail users. In short, features such as Focused Inbox, travel reservations, and package deliveries that were previously only available to Outlook.com and Office 365 email address are coming to Google accounts.

The desktop build includes the following bug fixes and improvements:

  • Fixed an issue where night light could get stuck in a disabled state.
  • Updated Start to use the improved XAML scrollbar style.
  • Fixed an issue from recent flights where dragging an app from Start’s All apps list into the tile grid would result in Start crashing.
  • Fixed an issue for those using Windows in Japanese, where on first login after an upgrade certain apps would unexpectedly appear at the bottom of the Start’s All apps list for an hour or until being launched, instead…

How to Adjust Scaling for Different Monitors In Windows 10

Windows doesn’t do the best job of scaling on high-resolution monitors. And if you have multiple monitors with different pixel densities, things can get even more confusing. Thankfully, Windows 10 has settings that can help.

Say your laptop is super high-resolution, and requires scaling to keep icons and text from looking tiny. But you’ve hooked it up to an external monitor with more old-school PPI, with no scaling necessary. You want text and other elements to look the same size on both screens, even though they have very different pixel densities.

We’ll show you how to approximate this as best you can using Windows’ settings. You can find out the specific density of your monitors (pixels per inch, dots per inch) with online tools, but since Windows’ scaling system isn’t exact enough to simply adapt to those values, it doesn’t actually help us much.

Instead, we’re going to have to eyeball it—appropriate, since the whole point is to get a consistent and comfortable viewing experience across all your screens. Remember, whatever scaling settings are, your actual resolution should always be set to the default of your display.

How to Change the Scaling for Multiple Displays

In Windows 10, scaling has been moved to the new “Display” section of the updated, touch-friendly Settings menu. Luckily, it’s still pretty easy to access from the standard desktop: right-click any empty area and select “Display Settings.”

This will bring you to the following menu, assuming you’re running the latest Creator’s Update. In…

How to Play Windows Store Games Offline and Without a Connection

The Windows Store is Microsoft’s attempt at creating a unified app store for Windows. While there are some great apps available from the Store, most of the best Windows software is found elsewhere.

While the Store isn’t a vital destination for most users it does house some great casual games. Those with children likely have a few games from the Store installed, and they’ll be happy to know that you can now use games offline. Here’s how to make sure you can access those games, even without an internet connection.

Make sure you’re online and have the latest updates installed, then open the Windows Store and click your profile icon in the top-right. Choose Settings from the drop-down menu and scroll…

How to Make Windows Troubleshoot Your PC’s Problems for You

Windows includes a variety of “troubleshooters” designed to quickly diagnose and automatically solve various computer problems. Troubleshooters can’t fix everything, but they’re a great place to start if you encounter a problem with your computer.

Troubleshooters are built into the Control Panel on Windows 10, 8, and 7, so practically all Windows users can take advantage of them. On Windows 10’s Creators Update, most troubleshooters are now available through the Settings app.

Windows 10

If you’ve installed Windows 10’s Creators Update, you’ll find these in Settings. Navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot.

As of the Creators Update, the following troubleshooters are available here: Blue Screen, Bluetooth, Hardware and Devices, HomeGroup, Incoming Connections, Internet Connections, Keyboard, Network Adapter, Printer, Playing Audio, Power, Program Compatibility Troubleshooter, Recording Audio, Search and Indexing, Shared Folders, Speech, Video Playback, Windows Store Apps, and Windows Update.

If something isn’t working properly on your PC, the associated troubleshooter may find and fix the problem for you.

Select the troubleshooter you want to run and click “Run Troubleshooter”. Many troubleshooters will run automatically and fix problems they find, while some troubleshooters will suggest various fixes you can choose whether to apply.

The Settings interface doesn’t list every available troubleshooter. For example, it omits the Background Intelligent Transfer service, Windows Media Player DVD, Windows Media Player Library, and Windows Media Player Settings troubleshooters.

These are still available if you need them—they’re just buried in the Control Panel. To find them, open the Control Panel, type “Troubleshoot” into its search box, and click the “Troubleshooting” icon.

Click “View all” at the left side of the Troubleshooting pane and you’ll see a full list of available troubleshooters.

Windows 7 and 8

You’ll find these tools in the Control Panel on Windows 7 and 8. You’ll also need to use the Control Panel if you’re using Windows 10’s Anniversary Update or an earlier version of Windows 10.

Navigate to Control Panel > System and Security > Troubleshoot Common Computer Problems. On Windows 7, click “Find and Fix Problems” instead.

You’ll see a list of the most common troubleshooters you might need.

These aren’t the only available troubleshooters. Click “View All” in the sidebar to view a full list of troubleshooters. Here’s a list of the troubleshooters you…

The Best All-In-One Windows PCs: Seriously, They’re Actually Good Now

All-in-one PCs are the domain of the novice, the hotel business nook, or the interior decorator who can’t stomach seeing a “real” PC in a pristine living room. With the exception of the iMac, they were seen as boring, underpowered boxes with laptop components stuffed behind a cheap screen. But that’s changing.

It’s true that all-in-one machines are mostly cheap and simple, but the form factor has been undergoing a quiet revolution for the last couple of years. While Apple has been comfortable to trim dimensions and call it a day, manufacturers like Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, and others are filling the space with new and exciting designs. You should really check some of these models out before making your next desktop purchase.

Microsoft Surface Studio

The first desktop machine from Microsoft’s self-branded hardware initiative, the Surface Studio is surely the poster child for this new generation of all-in-one machines. Combining a 28-inch touch screen, a fold-down artist’s easel hinge, and the much-praised Surface Pen from the tablet line, the Studio makes a compelling argument for Windows as an artist’s platform. Prices start high and go higher, but with a GTX 965 graphics card and an optional 980 upgrade, the all-in-one can also double as a competent gaming machine (albeit a not-very-upgradeable one).

The $3000 starting price (with a rather paltry 8GB of RAM, no less) and slightly older Intel processors are two bummers in an otherwise amazing hardware package. Ditto for the unique Surface Dial: this rotating wireless tool can be placed directly on the screen for digital manipulation, but it’s a separate $100 purchase and currently limited to only a few applications. Even so, for those who want the absolute cutting edge in desktop design, the Surface Studio might be worth its steep asking price.

HP Envy

The Envy series has long been HP’s showcase for its more bombastic designs, and the latest all-in-one machines to wear the badge are no exception. These desktops combine huge, small-bezel displays with a horizontal component body that integrates a quad-speaker Bang & Olufsen soundbar. At a glance, the design looks like a high-end home theater setup that’s been shrunk down to desktop size, and that’s basically what it is, with a mid-range Windows machine crammed into the package.

The latest Envy designs are also surprisingly affordable, considering their displays. The base configuration for the massive 34-inch model starts at around $1800, though those who want more RAM, a bigger SSD+HDD combo, and a more capable graphics card can spend a bit more. The Envy design also comes in 24-inch and 27-inch versions, some of which offer touch screens, which isn’t an option on the largest version.

Digital Storm Aura, CyberPower PC Arcus, and Origin Omni

Even among these next-gen designs, gamers looking for truly high-end graphics can find their options a bit limited, thanks to the tight packages and non-upgradable components. Boutique PC makers are getting around that by cramming a full desktop into a 34-inch ultrawide monitor, in three separate products that seem to come from the same OEM supplier: the Digital Storm Aura, the CyberPower PC Arcus, and the Origin Omni. Slip off the back cover and you’ll be able to swap out every component, including a massive full-size PCIe desktop graphics card, RAM DIMM slots, SSD and HDD storage bays, and yes, even the desktop-class Intel processor and Mini-ITX motherboard.

Magnet for Mac Is the Window Management Tool I’ve Desperately Needed

We’ve seen a few different tools for Windows-esque window management on Mac over the years, but none of those ever fit well with my workflow. Magnet is an app that’s been around for a while, but a few recent updates have finally made it the app I need.

At a glance, Magnet ($4.99, but it’s on sale right now for 99¢) is like any window snapping tool. You can organize windows neatly side-by-side, in fullscreen, quarters, thirds, or any combination of those you want. You can manage windows by dragging them, setting up keyboard shortcuts, or by using the menu bar. This alone is helpful for someone like me, who typically has dozens of windows open of varying sizes all stacked in a disorganized way that makes me spend more time in the app switcher than I’d like. If I do ever bother to manually resize a window, it’s usually just to make it large enough to peak out from another stack of apps.

What sets Magnet apart from other options is the sheer amount of polish. It doesn’t get confused by multiple displays (and in fact supports up to six external displays) and you can customize the keyboard shortcuts to suit your needs. It also supports any combination of window areas. For example, you can cram one window in the top right, another in the bottom right, then expand one window to take up the other half of the screen. Magnet also just added options for left/center/right thirds, which turns out to be the feature I was truly waiting for.

What’s especially nice about Magnet is that it doesn’t force any specific move set on you. Whether you’re a keyboard shortcut type of person, a menu person, or a mouse person, you can make user of Magnet. Let’s take a look at how all of these different options look in action.

Organize Windows…

How to Add Programs, Files, and Folders to System Startup in Windows

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Some Windows apps configure themselves to automatically start whenever Windows boots. But you can make any app, file, or folder start with Windows by adding it to the Windows “Startup” folder.

  1. Press Windows+R to open the “Run” dialog box.
  2. Type “shell:startup” and then hit Enter to open the “Startup” folder.
  3. Create a shortcut in the “Startup” folder to any file, folder, or app’s executable file. It will open on startup the next time you boot.

Some apps already have a bulit-in setting for this, but if they don’t, this method is what you want. You can also make any file or folder open when Windows starts—just in case there’s something you find yourself using regularly. All you have to do is create a shortcut to whatever you want to start in a special “Startup” folder—one of Windows’ hidden system folders. This technique will work with just about any version of Windows from Vista on up through Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Note also, though, that the more programs you start on boot, the longer the startup process will appear to take. If there are any apps you don’t want to start on boot, you can disable certain startup programs too.

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How to Add a Drop-Down Calendar to the macOS Menu Bar Clock

Windows users can click the clock on the taskbar to see a calendar, which is perfect if you need to know what day of the week June 17th is. Macs don’t offer this feature, at least not out-of-the-box. But there are programs that can add one.

Our favorite free option is a program called Itsycal. It’s lightweight, shows your Calendar appointments, and even supports keyboard shortcuts for quick browsing. Here’s how to set it up, and even customize it to replace the clock on your menu bar.

Getting Started With Itsycal

Head to the itsycal homepage and download the application. It comes in a ZIP file which you can unarchive by clicking. Drag the application to your Applications folder.

Launch the application and you’ll see a calendar icon in your menu bar. Click this to bring up a tiny calendar popup.

Appointments are shown below the calendar, and you can click any day to see its appointments. Don’t like using the mouse? You can browse using the keyboard: “J” and “K” browse up and down, while “H” and “L” browse left and right. You can also use the arrow keys: Left and Right jump forward a month, while Up and Down jump between years.

At the bottom of the pop-up window is an icon that looks like a gear. Click to to access the preferences.

From here you can decide…

How to Move the “Show Desktop” Icon to the Quick Launch Bar or the Taskbar in Windows

If you aren’t a fan of scrolling your pointer over to the lower right corner of your monitor to show the desktop, we have a cool tweak that will allow you to add the Show Desktop icon to the Quick Launch bar or anywhere on your Taskbar.

If you want to easily get access to the Desktop in Windows 7, 8, or 10, you’ve undoubtedly noticed they moved the Show Desktop to the lower right corner of the screen. This can be annoying if you have a dual monitors, or even a large monitor.

There are a couple of ways you can make the Show Desktop icon more accessible. We’ll take a look at each and you can choose which method works best for you. We show both methods in Windows 10, but they will also work in Windows 7 and 8.

How to Put the Show Desktop Icon Back to Where it Used to Be by Adding Back the Quick Launch Bar

The first method of moving the Show Desktop icon is to add back the Quick Launch bar to the Taskbar. The Quick Launch bar contains a Show Desktop option, so once you follow the steps in our article to bring back the Quick Launch bar, you should see the Show Desktop icon on the left side of the Taskbar. If you don’t, the article also describes how to move icons on the Quick Launch bar.

This method will “kill two birds with one stone” by getting the Quick Launch bar and the Show Desktop icon back where they used to be in Windows.

How to Pin the Show Desktop Icon to the Taskbar

If you don’t want the Quick Launch bar back, you could pin the icon to the Taskbar instead. Unfortunately, the process isn’t as easy as a simple drag and drop, but there is an easy workaround.

Right-click on any empty area of the desktop and go to New > Text Document.

Rename the shortcut to Show Desktop.exe.

NOTE: You will need to have file extensions showing in order for this to work.

The following warning…

How to Upgrade Firefox from 32-bit to 64-bit in Windows Without Reinstalling

Most web browsers are installed in Windows as 64-bit versions by default, Firefox being the exception. If you installed the default download of Firefox, you have the 32-bit version, not the 64-bit version, even if you’re running a 64-bit version of Windows.

Say you recently got a new Windows computer. After installing the 32-bit version of Firefox from the main page, you installed your favorite add-ons, restored your backed up bookmarks, and even set up multiple profiles for personal and work purposes. But, now you want to upgrade to the 64-bit version of Firefox for better performance. You could uninstall the 32-bit version and then install the 64-bit version, but doing so will remove your Firefox user data, such as saved passwords, bookmarks, settings, extensions, and themes.

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You could back up your profile folders from the 32-bit version of Firefox and then restore them after uninstalling Firefox and installing the 64-bit version. But that’s a bit of a hassle, and there is an easier way.

NOTE: Firefox 64-bit can only be installed on 64-bit Windows. If you’re not sure which version of Windows you’re running, you can easily check. If you’re running 32-bit Windows, you cannot upgrade Firefox to 64-bit.

If you’re not sure if you’re running 32-bit or 64-bit Firefox,…