When it says “Do not turn off your computer” what happens if I do?

You see this message usually when your PC is installing updates and it is in the process of shutting down or restarting. If the computer is powered off during this process the installation process will be interrupted.

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The interruption can have several outcomes. The best is that when you restart your computer the process either continues or picks up from the start and you hardly notice that anything bad has occurred. It may be that the computer goes through several cycles trying to get the job done. That may take extra time but gets everything updated.

It can also happen that the process was stopped when it was already marked done but has not completed. The PC will show the update installed when in fact it reverted back to the prior version of whatever was being updated. This can be bad especially if some vulnerability was being corrected and that did not really happen. It is usually best after a power interruption to manually check for updates again.

The worst outcome can be that the process gets caught in such a way that it loops back to the same incomplete state. The machine might even be unusable as it tries over and over to complete the update. Intervention might be needed, restarting into safe mode, and starting the update process again.

One thing you normally do not need to worry about is loosing any of your data.

.:.

© 2015 Ludwig Keck

How do I pin Outlook to the taskbar in Windows 8?

How to pin Outlook to the taskbar in Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

Outlook can mean a couple of different things these days. There is Microsoft Outlook, the desktop mail client that is part of Microsoft Office, there is also Outlook.com the Microsoft email service. Let’s take them up one at a time.

Office ProgramsOutlook – mail client

To pin the Outlook mail client to the taskbar do this:

  • Click Start, or press the Windows key on the keyboard.
  • Find the Outlook listing – you may need to scroll around a bit.
  • Right-click on Outlook
  • Click on Pin to taskbar

That’s it.

Outlook.com – the online email service

To pin a link to the Outlook.com site to the taskbar proceed as shown below.

NOTE: This only works if you are using Internet Explorer.

  • Outlook.comOpen Internet Explorer and go to outlook.com. Sign in.
  • Find the little icon in front of the web address. See the illustration here.
  • drag iconPlace the pointer on the little icon. Note the tooltip “Drag to taskbar to pin site”.
  • Drag the little icon down to the taskbar and release it on the taskbar.

That’s it.

You can have both the mail client and the online outlook.com site pinned to the taskbar. The icons are very similar. The “white envelope” one is the Outlook client.

Taskbar icons

Outlook icons

.:.

© 2015 Ludwig Keck

How do I upgrade to Windows 8.1 ?

Now that Windows 8.1 is available everyone with a Windows 8 PC can get the new system at no cost. Well, it takes a bit of time, but that is all.

Before you start, be sure that you have backed up your computer. Installing a new system, and that is what upgrading to Windows 8.1 really is, is very much like major surgery, things can go wrong. So be safe, be prepared.

Do allow plenty of time. For me it took well over an hour; but then I was eager to update, right along with all the others who wanted to upgrade right after Windows 8.1 became available.

The procedure is quite easy. Go to the Start screen and click on the Store tile. You will see the invitation to update right away.

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imageClick on that invitation, the Download link on the next screen, and you are on your way. The download will proceed. There is nothing you need to to for a while. You will see the “Downloading” message, then “Getting your PC ready”, finally “Preparing to restart”.

Then you see a message asking for permission to restart.

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imageAfter a number of messages on a black screen with the new Windows logo advising the progress of “Setting up …”, “Getting devices ready …”, “Applying PC settings …”, “Setting up a few more things ..”, you will be presented with the License terms. You can read them, they are very, very long. You really have no choice but to accept if you wish to upgrade.

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Now you will need to make some more decisions. Next you will see the Settings screen.

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You can make some choices here, but clicking “Use express settings” is probably the easiest. You will be asked to sign in to your Microsoft account. Then a bit of extra security measures. You will be asked to how you want to receive a numeric code.

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If you have set up your Microsoft account with a phone number, you can receive either a text or voice message. You can also receive the code by email. Texting to your phone is the easiest. For me the phone rang immediately after clicking Next.

Enter the numeric code on the next screen. You will see an option for using SkyDrive.

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Once you proceed from here there will be a number of colorful screens as the final installation tasks. Shortly you will see your Start screen just as it was before on Windows 8. You can now start customizing and using the new features in Windows 8.1

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.:.

© 2013 Ludwig Keck

How do I include items in my Windows 8 Photos library?

You might have photos in a folder other than “My Pictures” or on a drive other that “C:”. Those photos will not be displayed in the Photos tile on the start screen and will not shown in Photo Gallery. Rather than moving the photos or their folder around on your PC, the proper way is to include the folder containing those pictures in you Pictures library. Here is the procedure for doing that:

  • Open File Explorer.
  • In the navigation bar on the left, locate the folder you wish to include in the Pictures library.
  • Right-click the folder name.
  • In the next menu click Include in library
  • This provides a list of your libraries, click the one to use – in this case Pictures

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That’s it. You have now included the folder in the Pictures library. Yes, you can include a whole drive. You will get the same menu when you right-click a drive name.

Your photos from the included folders will show up in all programs and apps that use the library, like Windows Photo Gallery, Picasa, of course, File Explorer. They will also be displayed in the Start page Photos app.

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.:.

© 2012 Ludwig Keck

Can I get a start button on Windows 8?

Sure can! There are numerous downloads available to put a start button on your Windows 8 desktop. Some for free, some at a modest price. All are trying to fill the void that Microsoft has created by leaving the start button out of Windows 8.

Windows 8 START buttonOver at This ‘n That, I offered a quick solution to help out until Microsoft puts a real one back on Windows 8. There are rumors to the effect, that come Fall, the Windows 8.1 update will once again feature a start button.

Take a couple of minutes and read my post Make your own Windows 8 start button and a couple more to a reasonably good substitute on your Windows 8 taskbar.

.:.

© 2012 Ludwig Keck

How do I create desktop shortcuts in Windows 8?

Windows 8 offers easy options to place a tile on the Start screen, “Pin to Start”, and to put an icon on the desktop taskbar, “Pin to taskbar”, but the method to create a desktop shortcut is not obvious at all. Here is how you can quickly put a shortcut icon on your Windows 8 desktop for any installed desktop program. This does not work for the Windows 8 style apps that only run in the non-desktop environment.

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Press the Windows logo key to open the Start screen. Right-click on an empty space and click All apps in the bar at the bottom.

Find the program – you may have to scroll – and right-click its tile.

Now you get the options on the bottom for a number of tasks. Click Open file location (see the red arrows in the illustration). shortcuts-07This switches you to the desktop and opens File Explorer. The shortcut location for the program will already be selected. Right-click on the program name, move the pointer down to Send to then horizontally over to the sub-menu and down to Desktop (create shortcut). Click that.

That’s it. You will now have a desktop shortcut for that program on the desktop. You can position it as you like. The shortcut works as expected, double-click it to open the program.

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.:.

© 2012 Ludwig Keck

My desktop shortcut icons are gone. How do I get them back?

This is a not uncommon problem. How it happens I can’t say, but how to get them back is easy.

Before I show you how to restore the shortcut icons, here is how to make them disappear:

  • Right-click on an empty spot on your desktop.
  • In the small menu move the pointer to View…
  • Move the pointer horizontally to the additional menu.
  • Move the pointer down to Show desktop icons. This item is checked when the icons are displayed. Click it so it will be unchecked.

The icons will immediately disappear.

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To restore the desktop shortcuts just follow the same procedure.

  • Right-click on the desktop.
  • In the small menu move the pointer to View…
  • Move the pointer horizontally to the additional menu.
  • Move the pointer down to Show desktop icons. This item is unchecked when the icons are not displayed. Click it so it will be checked.

The desktop shortcut icons will be restored.

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My own icons have never pulled the disappearing act, and I did not know about this. I am indebted to my friend AlexO for this solution.

.:.

© 2012 Ludwig Keck

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