Everyday Tips from the ComputerMom 

August 2016
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The dog days of summer are on us, and I hope you are all staying cool. It's hard to imagine that summer is almost over - enjoy these nice days while they last!

I've been writing a lot about Windows 10 lately, but whether you use a PC or a Mac, this month's newsletter is for you. The first article is all about keyboard shortcuts, one of my favorite "tips and tricks" to make using your computer easier. And, as it's getting close to back-to-school time, now is a great time to do a reality check on your in-home tech!

Finally, the Windows 10 free upgrade period is over. Not a big deal for most people, unless you happen to be shopping for a new PC - then you need to be careful.

Julie Marto 

PS - Is your college student complaining she needs a new laptop? Maybe she just needs an SSD upgrade and a tune-up instead!
Save Time with Keyboard Shortcuts

Before there was the mouse, there was the keyboard, and a whole system was created to control your computer with keystroke combinations. The mouse made learning those combinations optional, but "power users" know that often those keystroke combinations are the fastest way to get things done.

One of the best reasons to learn a few keyboard shortcuts is that they ALWAYS work, even if there you can't find the menu option to do what you want. Many keystroke combinations are the same for PC and Mac users - the only difference is that the PC uses the "Ctrl" key, while the Mac uses the "command" key, which looks like this  ⌘. Regardless, to use keyboard shortcuts you hold down either the Ctrl or the ⌘ key and then press the specific key to execute the command.

Here's a list of the keyboard shortcuts I use the most:

Ctrl or  A Select All - selects everything in the document, page, or window. Good for globally changing fonts, deleting all of your junk emails at one time, or moving every file from one folder to another
Ctrl or  C Copy - copies the selected text into the clipboard so you can paste it somewhere else. When you use this command you don't see anything actually happen - the text is copied but stays where it is.
Ctrl or  P Print - brings up the print dialogue box. Generally works even when you don't see any other way to print!
Ctrl or  S Save - brings up the "save as" dialogue box the first time, will just save (without doing anything visible) with subsequent use
Ctrl or  V Paste - pastes whatever is in the clipboard to the insertion point. Use this command, in conjunction with Ctrl/⌘-C or Ctrl/⌘-X,  to move or copy text or other data. Probably the most useful keyboard shortcuts to get comfortable with! 
Ctrl or  X Cut - copies the selected text into the clipboard and also removes it from its current location

Q Quit - Mac only, quits the topmost application

There are many more keyboard shortcuts out there but I can promise you that if you get comfortable with my short list, it will make your computer use much more efficient!
Back to School Tech Check

August is a good month to assess your home technology and see if it's ready for the start of the school year. Here's the short list - if all is working well, you should be good to go!

Printers - I last wrote about choosing a printer in August of 2014. Most of the information in that article holds true, but with more and more schoolwork done on Chromebooks and iPads, it's even more critical to choose a printer with the right wireless technologies. In particular, setting up a printer to work with a Chromebook can be a bit challenging, but if you have the right technology installed it's a breeze to use. 

Networks - Both Verizon and Comcast provide cable modems that have built in wireless networking, but the range of those networks can leave something to be desired. I'm not a huge fan of most wireless range extenders, but there are other solutions that can improve your in-home wireless. Sometimes it's as simple as moving your cable modem to a better location, and sometimes it's adding a better wireless router with more range. 

Computers - Now is a good time to get that tune-up and clean-up you've been putting off! Mac users should make sure you are on the latest version of OSX, especially as the newest version coming out this fall will leave some of your older systems behind. PC users should be sure you have an up-to-date antivirus system. Remember, Comcast gives you Norton for free. For those of you using Verizon or RCN, I recommend purchasing a good commercial antivirus like Norton, Kaspersky, or ESET. 
Windows 10 No Longer Free

After a year of free upgrades, whether you wanted it or not, Microsoft has followed through with their schedule and is n o longer offering Windows 10 for free. If you want to upgrade to Windows 10, you will have to pay $120.00 for the "Home" version, and $200.00 for the "Pro" version.

What does this mean for you? For those of you who chose not to upgrade, it means you are no longer going to be nagged by Microsoft. However, for anybody purchasing a new computer, you need to make sure it comes with Windows 10 already installed

Retailers still have plenty of systems on the shelves with Windows 7 and Windows 8 installed. Unless you want to buy a new system that is already obsolete, you don't want to purchase one of those. So, new computer buyers, make sure you look over the specs of your potential purchase carefully and see what operating system is installed!