Note to Commenters

Spam and unintelligible comments will be removed. Please keep comments relevant to the subject of the post.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Upgrading to Windows 10

I upgraded a desktop computer running Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit (with no touch-screen ability) today. Here are some key observations from my experience

- Overall performance seems a faster
- There's a bunch of new features that I will most likely never use but might be handy in the future.
- There's a few other minor features that I like and probably more as I investigate.

- The upgrading process is a little buggy
- The Start Menu is still a mess for desktop users
- More settings have been moved to the All Settings section and some overlap with those in Control Panel, and some have moved to new locations so you have to hunt for them (but, you can always type them in, in Search).
- The user interface is flat and less attractive

I won't roll it back to Windows 7. I think the upgrade was worth it for the performance boost. The Cons above are mainly minor and there are workarounds for them.
- If you hate change, especially in the way the operating system looks, don't upgrade. 
- If you are very particular about your solitaire games in Windows 7, don't upgrade. 
- If you have a system that is only a few years old with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on it and you would like better performance, I would recommend upgrading.

I initiated the upgrade from the Windows 10 upgrade app. (I had reserved the Windows 10 upgrade via this app weeks ago. A notice popped up saying my upgrade was ready today.) Eventually, I ended up at a screen that said Working On It for a long time. I researched this issue and followed the common suggestion to solve the problem: Restart the computer, open Windows Updates and upgrade from there instead. Once I did that there were no more glitches with the upgrade.

It took about an hour in total (not including the time it sat on Working On It).

All the data in the user account was still there as was the wallpaper and the user account settings. 

All the installed programs worked with only a couple of updates required. AVG Free needed a restart, and although the video card seemed to work okay, I downloaded and installed a new driver for it. Even the network printer and the PS3 that this computer connects to (via PS3 Media Server) connected fine.

I played around with the Start Menu for some time. Since I could not pin useful things to it after minimizing it/removing all the tiles, I opted to go with Classic Shell. For anyone who still wants the efficiency of the Windows 7 start menu, this is the way to go. Classic Shell is free and can be customized in many ways (including drop-down menus for This PC, listing the drives, and a drop down menu for Control Panel).

There are a few other minor annoyances that I figured a way around without too much hassle. 

Friday, 20 February 2015

Review/Note about the HP Officejet Pro 8610 inkject multifunction printer.

This printer is currently on sale for $60 off (at Staples in Canada), which is a great deal. It's a good printer for a small home business. ... with 2 caveats:

It is not great at picking up any cardstock you put in it.
- To get the cardstock to feed properly you have to remove the regular paper from the tray and place about a quarter inch of cardstock in the tray.
I found this was the only reliable method of getting the cardstock to feed. (In other words, if you need to print a couple of sheets, you can't just place them on top of the regular paper in the tray as you could with most printers that can handle cardstock).

The other issue was in relation to installing the software/connecting the printer when Windows 8.1 was involved with connecting to the printer via a wireless network connection.
I found by trial and error, that the Windows firewall was blocking something in the setup that was necessary, even though the firewall settings showed that everything was being allowed that should have been allowed.
- To properly install the software and connect the printer and scanner I had to temporarily disable the firewall during the initial installation and connection process. Once it was done and both the scanner and printer components were tested to work, the firewall could be re-enabled and everything continued to work. This is not a normal issue when installing a network printer.

Knowing these 2 issues and their solutions in advance would have made things a lot less frustrating. HP seemed to be aware of these issues but did not offer these solutions (just solutions that did not work for these cases).

Would I recommend this printer? For this price? Yes. With knowing the above 2 solutions? Yes. Otherwise no.

HP generally makes good quality inkjet printers. But it was frustrating to have to figure out these issues. I'm glad it is finally working.

2 other things I found that I like:
Compared to my old Officejet Pro 8500A, with the 8610 the automatic duplexer is faster, and the print job is better aligned (straight) on the sheet.

Update 2:
After using it for a while, I found that I could just put a sheet or 2 of cardstock on top of the regular paper that was in the tray to print on cardstock. It was just really finicky when I first started using it.
Also, when installing the printer software in Windows 10, I didn't find I had any of the problems with the firewall settings as I did when I first set it up in Windows 8.1. 

Friday, 30 January 2015

AVG Free 2015 Winter Update, January 2015

For those using AVG Free 2015

As of Jan. 24, 2015 and shortly thereafter, you may get an AVG pop up about the AVG 2015 Update.
If you do,

Click Update Now
Check off Basic Protection [NOTE: THIS IS A VITAL STEP!!!!]
Restart the computer if asked/required.

When done you will get another pop-up - this time of the regular whole interface, but with a banner across it: Congratulations! You've successfully updated to AVG Antivirus FREE 2015.
Click Continue.
Even though you already had AVG Antivirus FREE 2015, it will show this.
Restart computer to finish.
Since you already had AVG Free 2015 installed, your custom settings will stay the same, so don't worry about that.

NOTE: You may get the Update notice twice (once and then again a few days to a week or so later). Just follow these same instructions each time.