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Office 365 features forecasting ability

office365_June16_CWouldn’t it be nice if there existed an application with features that can help predict and identify risks and opportunities for your business products or services? Microsoft has turned this concept into reality with Office 365 Power BI’s latest upgrade, which features predictive foreacasting. Now that you are able to, it might be time you familiarize yourself with what predictive forecasting is and how it can help your business.

Predictive forecasting uses a variety of statistical techniques, from modeling to data mining, that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about the future.

The predictive forecasting function of Office 365 provides users with the skills to generate reports, interactive charts, and 3D visualizations of business performance. Simply put, users can perform advanced forecasting without the complexity that usually accompanies these kinds of processes.

The new forecasting tool utilizes built-in predictive forecasting models to automatically detect seasonality in the data. It also enables users to see how results are affected by adjusting the parameters of the time or confidence interval assigned to be analyzed.

Power BI’s predictive forecasting can also help fill in gaps with data. Power View, an interactive data exploration and presentation tool, fills in missing values from a data set before carrying out a forecast for a more accurate result.

A few things you need to keep in mind before using the feature:

  1. The line chart has to have one line as multiple line charts won’t work.
  2. The line chart has to have fewer than 1,000 values.
  3. The x-axis value needs to have a date/time format or be a uniformly increasing whole number. It cannot contain text or decimal numbers, and the interval between values has to be at least one day.

How to use predictive forecasting in Office 365:

  1. Simply upload a workbook with a Power View time series line chart to Power BI for Office 365.
  2. Open the file in Power BI and switch to Power View in HTML 5 by clicking Try the HTML 5 version of Power View in the lower-right corner.
  3. Click on the forecast arrow or drag the forecast dot in the line chart and you’ll see the forecasting options appear in the analysis pane to the right of your report.

Do keep in mind that Power View automatically detects what appears to be the seasonality of the data. In other words, a complete cycle of peaks and drops. Note that this works best if the chart has at least four times more values than the data cycle.

Here’s how to override automatic seasonality detection:

  1. Start a forecast by dragging the forecast handle in a line chart.
  2. The Analysis pane will automatically pop up on your right hand side. If you can’t find it, look for Analysis in the upper-right corner.
  3. In the Analysis area, manually set the seasonality to 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 24, 52, or 365.

Predictive forecasting, if used properly, can immensely help with the overall strategic planning, market penetration and operation of your business.

Looking to learn more about Office 365 and its features? Call us today for a chat.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Installing apps on your Phone remotely

GoogleApps_June18_CBusiness leaders not only work with the latest tech gadgets but often have to learn how to manipulate several devices at the same time to better the business and control the organization’s operations with ease. The fact that many companies benefit from modernization is a real advantage to tech development and one efficient task that can now be achieved is installing a mobile app on your Android device via your computer.

How Google enables you to control your mobile phone via a computer is often overlooked by many users. This tutorial will show you how you can download, send, and install a new app to your Android device without even touching it. Sound like magic? It’s the marvel of technology.

To begin, make sure your phone is logged into your Google account. This account is an all-inclusive one, with which you can access your email, blog, Google+ account and even Google Play, Android’s marketplace for all its mobile apps. Your Google account is also your gateway into the installation of a new app from your desktop.

To log into your Google account from your smart phone, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Accounts > Google > Add Account.
  2. Type your email address and password to connect through the sign-in page.
  3. On your computer go to Google Play and check the upper right corner of your display and click Sign in.
  4. Sign in again to your Google account to be able to connect with your mobile phone.
  5. Check the left panel of your display and click Apps.
  6. Go to the Categories section and choose from the option that suits you in the drop down menu.
  7. A number of apps will be displayed, so choose the one which you would like to instal on your phone.
  8. Click Free (or the price of the app). Remember not to click the app itself but the underlined price under each application.
  9. You will be directed to a list of devices logged into the same Google account. Choose from these devices where you want the app to be installed. Hit Install for free apps and Buy for paid ones to install directly to your mobile device.
  10. Voila! You have just downloaded an app from your computer to your phone. Keep both devices logged in for easy access anytime, anywhere.

The continuous development of technology means that we should strive harder to learn and be acquainted with new tools we can use to improve business. This can yield big benefits for your company and enable you to accomplish more tasks in a shorter span of time.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Mobile apps for a disaster

businesscontinuity_June9_CLooking at the majority of natural disasters that strike it appears that many happen in the months of June through August. Regardless of your business location, there is likely an increased chance that you could see a disaster in these months and it is therefore a good idea to prepare for one, even if you think it unlikely. While there are many things you can do to get ready in advance, mobile devices can play an important role, especially the use of apps.

Both Android and Apple mobile devices offer a wide variety of apps that users rely on daily. Because of this, these devices have become an integral part of our lives and would no doubt be on hand if disaster struck. The upside to this is that there are apps that can help you and your employees whatever the disaster. Here are four of the best types of disaster related apps you and your colleagues should download in order to prepare.

Weather apps

It is always a good idea to know what the weather forecast is for your local area. This can help you predict what could happen and even prepare your business should say a big storm be rolling in. There are a wide variety of weather apps out there and it can be difficult to actually pick which is the best to use. We recommend:

  1. The NOAA Weather Radio - Available on iTunes for iPhone and iPad users, this app is the official app for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. When installed, you can receive local weather forecasts based on your location and storm or severe weather warnings pushed directly to your device. The app can be found on iTunes and costs USD$3.99
  2. Weather Underground - This app is among the most powerful weather apps out there. Using a wide variety of weather stations and user submitted weather it is up to date and able to offer accurate forecasts. With a Weather Radio feature, and push notifications of weather alerts, you can easily track potential storms. There is also the WunderMap which has radar, reports and IR Sat views as well. The app is available for free on Google Play and iTunes, and is rumored to be coming soon for Windows Phone.
  3. Local weather apps - Many TV stations and weather organizations have localized weather apps that focus on just local conditions. If you live in a disaster prone area, it would be a good idea to see if your local TV station has a weather app, as this could be the quickest way to receive updates.

American Red Cross apps

The Red Cross has a number of excellent survival oriented apps that could really come in handy for when a disaster strikes. These apps provide tips on how to prepare yourself and your family, as well as buildings for disaster, and what to do during and after a disaster strikes.

The best part is that most of the information is available offline, so you will have access to it even if cell networks are down. Some of the apps even provide weather alerts that will sound even if the app isn’t open, alerting you about any impending danger.

These apps are all available for free on Google Play and iTunes. The best thing to do is to visit the Red Cross website and look for the apps that are relevant to your local area e.g., if you are in the mountains the Forest Fire and First Aid apps may help. The apps are all free and can be downloaded by clicking the links for your device’s app store on the Red Cross site.

Social media apps

Social media services could prove to be a good way to connect and communicate during a disaster. Try setting up a group for your employees to communicate and encourage them to use it when a disaster strikes to share information and enact plans. One of the biggest added advantages to using social networks is that the servers that host the service are located around the world, so the chances of the service being down is fairly slim. If you have Internet access, you will be able to access the service.

It would be a good idea to define which social network you want to use and establish your pages and connections ahead of time. Have each employee sign up for and join the group you have created and also download the app onto their mobile devices.

Google Public Alerts

Google Public Alerts is the company’s alert platform that allows for the distribution of emergency messages and notices like evacuation notices, public alerts, and storm warnings. For users in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Taiwan, and Indonesia alerts will appear in Google Searches, Maps and if you are an Android or iOS user, from Google Now.

Mobile users who have Google Now installed should see relevant alerts pop up when something happens. While you won’t see alerts for absolutely everything, Google does a pretty good job at broadcasting useful information. On mobile devices, these alerts will usually pop up in your Notifications Center where they are easy to see.

To get these notifications on your Android device, you will need to download the Google Search app and activate it on your device. You can find it for free on the Google Play Store, and on iTunes. Android users can also download the Google Now Launcher which will add Google Now to your device’s home screen, and can be accessed by swiping to the right from your Home Screen.

Tips for using your mobile during an emergency

Here are six tips to help you leverage your mobile device during a disaster.

  1. Install relevant apps - In order to be prepared, you should install the apps necessary to communicate during a disaster, along with a weather app and if necessary a survival app.
  2. Ensure your contacts are up to date - To be sure, you should periodically update your contacts. Should anything happen you will know how to contact people and have a higher chance of being able to get in touch.
  3. Ensure your employees have devices that work - Even if you don’t allow mobile devices in the office, or employees to use their own devices, it would be a great idea to ensure that your employees have devices that are in working order so should they need to contact you, or vice versa, you will have a better chance of being able to.
  4. Establish procedures to follow during a disaster - This is arguably the most important preparation you can do. Take the time to establish procedures you and your employees should follow during an emergency. Include where people should meet, backup plans, contact suggestions and the roles you expect your employees to take.
  5. Keep your batteries topped up - Mobile devices rely on batteries to operate, and during a disaster you may be without a power source for an extended amount of time. Therefore, Minimize use during a disaster. Ensure your batteries are full, or charges as often and has high as possible.
  6. Invest in a good power bank - Power banks are useful tools that are essentially big batteries. You can charge them up then use them to charge your devices. Take a look for one that is at least 9000 MHZ, or higher. The higher the number the bigger the charge.

If you are looking to learn more about using mobile devices during a disaster, or how your company can prepare, contact us today. Learn about our services and how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Windows XP Support Over

Windows_Jan21_CMicrosoft Windows is without a doubt the most popular OS used in businesses these days. There are numerous versions of Windows available to users and one of the most popular is Windows XP. This version of Windows is over 12 years old and is installed on more than 27% of computers connected to the Internet. The issue with this is that Microsoft has recently cut support for XP.

What exactly does the end of support for XP mean?

On April 8, Microsoft officially released the last patch for Windows XP and metaphorically pulled the plug on support for Windows XP. This means that technical support, updates and bug fixes for the operating system will no longer be offered by Microsoft. If your business has XP installed on computers you will likely face three major problems:

  • Increased security risk - Because Microsoft is no longer supporting XP with security updates, systems running this operating system (OS) will become more vulnerable to security issues. And because Microsoft isn’t fixing these issues, systems running XP are now easy targets for hackers who will without a doubt be developing malware that specifically targets and exploits these systems; putting your data and systems at risk.
  • Decreased productivity - Since Microsoft announced that they will be cutting support for XP, many Windows based developers have also stopped supporting it. This means that new software and hardware will likely not be supported by XP and not work effectively, if at all. This will lead to decreased productivity as employees struggle to achieve tasks on systems that no longer work, or programs that are now running too slow.
  • Increased operating overheads - Finally, in order to keep your systems running you will need to invest more capital. Finding software and hardware that works will become less affordable and correcting security issues and malware intrusions may come at a higher cost.

In other words, if you have not started to look into migration, the April 8th deadline should have been seen as the strongest determinant that it is time to move on and upgrade.

What should I do if my systems still run XP?

If your business has computers with XP, or you still have XP on your computers at home, there are a number of steps you should take.

1. Update XP

On April 8, Microsoft released the final patch/update for XP. It is worthwhile ensuring that you update all computers and systems running XP by downloading the latest patch from Microsoft.

Don’t be tricked into believing that your computer is secure however, you can bet that security faults will be found and exploited in the near future, if not already.

2. Ensure your antivirus is updated

This is an important step to take for all businesses, especially those running XP. An up-to-date antivirus or malware scanner that is set to run on a regular basis can be a big help in protecting systems. It is important to note that while antivirus scanners do help, they will not be able to keep legacy (older) systems completely secure, especially if the developers of these scanners turn their attention to viruses affecting newer operating systems.

It is essential that you have a strong scanner that is kept updated, even if you are currently in the midst of an upgrade or are planning to upgrade.

3. Use Firefox or Chrome

Internet Explorer is Microsoft’s browser that comes with every version of Windows. There are many companies using this browser but you need to be aware that just like XP, Microsoft doesn’t update older versions of Explorer.

In fact, the latest versions of Explorer aren’t even compatible with XP, so you are likely using an older version of Explorer which could be less secure. What you should do is use another browser like Chrome of Firefox. Both of these browsers receive updates on a regular basis and are generally more secure that older versions of Explorer.

4. Prepare for updates and upgrades

The tips above all focus on what to do if you are currently using XP. However, these are more like half-measures; ways to keep your system secure and your computers running in the short term. What you really need to be doing is planning to upgrade existing systems to newer versions of the OS.

An example might be to use Windows 7, which still receives updates and offers many of the same functions and features of XP. It might also be a good idea to look into upgrading your hardware as older versions may not support many of the newer programs.

While it may seem costly to upgrade hardware, there are a number of benefits to this. First, most hardware which businesses require in order to operate is relatively affordable and IT partners like us can help you find the best, most affordable options for your business.

Secondly, almost all new hardware, like computers, laptops, and monitors, are far more energy efficient and can serve to reduce overheads.

Finally, investing in upgrades will go a long way in preventing security breaches and malware infections which are costly to prevent and fix on older systems. This could lead to reduced recovery costs should an infection occur.

5. Back up your data

Before you upgrade, or even begin to look into this, you should back up all of your data so that should anything happen eg., a security breach or system failure, you have your important business files backed up and secure.

If nothing else you should…

Contact us. While it may not seem like a feasible idea to upgrade at this time, or it you think your systems are secure, it is still advisable to contact us and check, and stop using XP if you still are. We can help ensure your systems are upgraded and migration is smoothly successful without breaking the bank.

Get in touch today to learn more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Using Spike in Word

Office_May19_CThe word processor is one of the integral pieces of software at a business’s disposal. While there are more than a few options available to users, the most useful has to be Microsoft Word. With a variety of useful features, users can create almost any style of document. Many of us use Word on a daily basis, yet we still find new features to make our jobs easier. One such example is the Spike.

What is the Spike?

If you have worked in the restaurant industry, or worked in offices that use older systems you are likely familiar with what a spike is. It is literally a spike that is used to hold paper that you have finished with but want to keep hold of, perhaps to collate or check through later. Think of chefs spiking orders once the food’s left the kitchen or a secretary spiking an invoice that’s been paid.

Much like this physical tool, the Spike in Word allows users to essentially hold different items together until they need to be used. This feature is similar to the standard ‘copy” that we are all used to. The main difference is that the Spike can store information and content from different sources of your document, not just the last part you copied.

Say for example you have a 10-page sales report and want to create an executive summary. Instead of copying and pasting the main points from each section one at a time, you can copy each section to the Spike and then paste all of them at once.

How this feature works

You can add content to the Spike by simply highlighting it and pressing Ctrl + F3. This will cut the text you have highlighted and place it onto the Spike. From there, go and select the other content you would like to use.

Once you have all of the content spiked, you can paste it by:

  1. Clicking the mouse cursor where you would like to place the content. You can do this in your existing document or in a new document.
  2. Pressing Ctrl + Shift + F3.

This will take all of the content you have cut to the Spike and paste it into the document, and erase all of the content saved in the Spike. If you want to keep the content stored in the Spike and still paste it, you can do so by:

  1. Clicking the mouse cursor where you would like to place the content. You can do this in your existing document, a new document or another open document.
  2. Typing spike.
  3. Hitting F3.

This will put the content into your document while keeping a copy of it in the Spike. Be warned however, when using the Spike, your content will be cut from the source document. If you are staying within the same document, we recommend that you copy the content you would like to post into a new document and paste it there. Then, Spike it from there.

Viewing what you have spiked

If you forget what you have spiked, you can view what is stored there by:

  1. Clicking on the Insert tab.
  2. Clicking Quick Parts.
  3. Selecting AutoText from the drop down menu.
  4. Clicking on Spike.

As long as you don’t click Insert or anything else, you should be able to see the content.

If you are looking to learn more about using Word or any other Office program, talk to us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Google Search Queries for Your Business

GoogleApps_Mar03_CGoogle Search is the most widely used search engine in the world. Did you know that there are several Advanced Search queries that you can use to get better results? Spending more time than you’d like to searching the Web, instead of doing actual work, can be extremely damaging to your bottom line if you aren’t careful. Google’s Advanced Search queries might be the solution you’re looking for.

Searching for all mentions of a word in a site – keyword site:sitename.com

If you are looking for a specific word or phrase on a website, you can enter keyword site:sitename.com in the search bar, and Google will return pages that contain the keyword in the site you listed.

For example, if you’re looking for the word ‘business’ in the website examiner.com, then your search query would be – business site:examiner.com

Using this search query will show all the pages/posts in examiner.com that mention the word ‘business’.

Get exact match results

If you type keywords or phrases as you usually would in the search box, Google won’t give you exact results. For example, if you type in the phrase ‘business strategies’ (without quotation marks), you’ll get results for both business and strategies. If you want results that contain the exact phrase, then you simply have to add quotation marks around your phrase – “business strategies”. You can include as many words as you like, and if Google finds an exact match, you’ll see the result.

This is one technique that other writers or webmasters use to see if someone’s plagiarized their content.

Looking for pages that are the same/similar to a URL – related:sitename.com

If you like one website or page and would like to find similar sites you can enter related:sitename.com. This search query is perfect for client prospecting.

For example: If one of your customers was softwaremedia.com and your target market is companies that are selling software, you can just type in related:softwaremedia.com in the search field. Doing this will give you the URLs of sites that are similar to softwaremedia.com.

Searching for words in an article’s title – intitle:keyword

If you enter intitle:keyword, for example intitle:business strategies, in Google’s Search bar, you will get results that have the keyword phrase “business strategies” in the title. This can include articles and Web page titles.

Anything you’d like to share?

If you have any questions about how to make your business more efficient, contact us today and our associates will help you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Urgent Security Alert From Key Methods For IE (Internet Explorer)

A significant vulnerability to Microsoft’s IE (Internet Explorer) was detected this past weekend. (April 26/27, 2014).

Here is the information you need to have:

1. All versions of IE 6 through 11 for Windows are affected.

2. No patch is available as of today.

What Can I Do?

1. Do not use Microsoft’s IE (Internet Explorer) on any machine you may currently have.

2. Use an alternative browser such as Firefox or Google Chrome.

3. When the patch is issued, it will NOT apply to Windows XP users-ever (read more)!

4. Think seriously about upgrading those XP machines.

With the dropping of support for XP, we believe this is the first of many attacks that will be targeting Windows XP.

Here are three articles for your information:

Yahoo News Article

ARS Technica Article

Microsoft Bulletin

Sincerely,

Key Methods Support Team

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Information on the Heartbleed Bug

Security_Apr11_CThe security of your systems and communication, especially those that utilize the Internet should be paramount for any business. Over the past few weeks a massive new security flaw has been uncovered. This flaw, codenamed Heartbleed, could potentially expose all your vital data and communications that flows between your computer and websites online. All businesses and Internet users should be aware of this Heartbleed so that they can take steps to stay safe.

Background info about secure transmission of information on the Web

Most sites on the Internet rely on Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology to ensure that information is transmitted securely from a computer to server. SSL and the slightly older Transport Layer Security (TLS) are the main technology used to essentially verify that the site you are trying to access is indeed that site, and not a fake one which could contain malware or any other form of security threat. They essentially ensure that the keys needed to confirm that a site is legitimate and communication can be securely exchanged.

You can tell sites are using SSL/TLS by looking at the URL bar of your browser. If there is a padlock or HTTPS:// before the Web address, the site is likely using SSL or TLS verifications to help ensure that the site is legitimate and communication will be secure. These technologies work well and are an essential part of the modern Internet. The problem is not actually with this technology but with a software library called OpenSSL. This breach is called Heartbleed, and has apparently been open for a number of years now.

About Heartbleed

OpenSSL is an open-source version of SSL and TSL. This means that anyone can use it to gain SSL/TSL encryption for their site, and indeed a rather large percentage of sites on the Internet use this software library. The problem is, there was a small software glitch that can be exploited. This glitch is heartbleed.

Heartbleed is a bug/glitch that allows anyone on the Internet to access and read the memory of systems that are using certain versions of OpenSSL software. People who choose to exploit the bugs in the specific versions of OpenSSL can actually access or ‘grab’ bits of data that should be secured. This data is often related to the ‘handshake’ or key that is used to encrypt data which can then be observed and copied, allowing others to see what should be secure information.

The problem with Heartbleed

There are two major problems with this bug. The first being that if an attacker can uncover the SSL handshake used by your computer and the server that hosts the site when you login or transmit data they will be able to see this information. This information usually is made up of your login name, password, text messages, content and even your credit card numbers. In other words, anything that gets transmitted to the site using that version of SSL can be viewed.

Scary right? Well, the second problem is much, much bigger. The hacker won’t only be able to see the data you transmit, but how the site receiving it employs the SSL code. If a hacker sees this, they can copy it and use it to create spoof sites that use the same handshake code, tricking your browser into thinking the site is legitimate. These sites could be made to look exactly same as the legitimate site, but may contain malware or even data capture software. It’s kind of like a criminal getting the key to your house instead of breaking the window.

But wait, it gets worse. This bug has been present in certain versions of OpenSSL for almost two years which means the sites that have been using the version of OpenSSL may have led to exposure of your data and communication. And any attacks that were carried out can’t usually be traced.

So what do you need to do?

  • Right now, the best thing you can do is wait to be notified about affected services and patches or you can investigate this list provided by Mashable that has some well known brands listed.
  • If you’d like to investigate whether or not a website you frequent has been affected, you can use this tool.
  • Reset your password for every online service affected by Heartbleed. But beware: you should only change your password after the afflicted business has fixed its servers to remove the Heartbleed vulnerability. Changing your passwords before a company’s servers are updated will not protect your credentials from being leaked.

Please contact us if we have any questions.  Thank you for your time, and safe surfing.

Sincerely,

The Key Methods Support Team

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Outlook’s New Search Folder

Office_Mar24_CMicrosoft Outlook is an application used for managing personal information including email, tasks, contacts, and calendars. It is one of the programs that is included when you install Microsoft Office on your computer. While Outlook has many useful features, one of the most useful is the ability to create new search folders which let you conveniently access priority emails.

Outlook is one of the most popular email platforms allowing you to read emails from almost any account. The inbox is where the majority of your interaction with Outlook is, but the problem is that many users receive so many emails that it can be overwhelmed quickly. This makes it more difficult to find important emails, or separate the spam/less important emails.

One way to deal with this is by creating a customized search folder for important emails. This makes searching for vital messages easier as they are saved in a separate folder.

Default and predefined search folders in Outlook

There are three default search folders in Outlook and you can see them under “search folders” in the mail navigation pane on the left side of the window. These default search folders are categorized mail, large mail and unread mail. Categorized mail contains messages that are categorized by color.

The large mail folder is a search folder that includes messages that are over 100 KB in size. Unread mail, as the term suggests, contains emails that have not yet been read.

Predefined search folders are also available. These are existing search folders that you can add to the search menu, below the other folders. Some of these require that you enter specific criteria, while others do not. For instance, “mail flagged for follow up” does not require any criteria, while “mail with specific words” asks you to enter certain words that the message must contain to be included in the folder.

Adding predefined search folders can be done by following the steps below:

  1. Click File.
  2. Select New and choose Search Folder. The New Search Folder window will appear.
  3. Click on any of the predefined search folders.
  4. Select the option you want if asked for a specific criterion.
  5. Click OK.

Create a new search folder in Outlook

It’s also possible to create your very own search folder. You get to set not only the criteria, but its name as well. This makes it convenient to easily access important messages as you don’t have to browse through the inbox or various folders in your mailbox.

Here’s how to create a new search folder in Outlook:

  1. Right click on Search Folders in the mail navigation pane and click New Search Folder. You may also press ctrl+shift+p on your keyboard to make the window appear.
  2. Click Create a Custom Search Field followed by Choose.
  3. Enter the name of the new folder in the name field.
  4. Click Criteria and set your preferences to further personalize the folder and click OK.
  5. Click Browse and select folders to add in your customized search folder, then click OK.
  6. Select OK on the new search folder window and the new folder you created will be added under your search folders.

Messages in search folders will still remain in the original folders where they are saved. Even if you view the messages and delete the search folder, the messages will still be accessible in their default folder. However, if you select and delete a message in a search folder, it will be completely removed, even from its original folder.

If you have any concerns or feedback with regards Outlook search folders, feel free to get in touch and we’ll help you in every way that we can.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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What Does Windows 8.1 Update Offer?

Windows_Apr07_CWindows is the most popular operating system used on desktop computers. It is now also used on mobile devices; the latest operating system, Windows 8.1 supports PCs and tablets. This OS was made available last year, following on from the introduction of Windows 8 in 2012 which introduced a whole new look, feel and usability to Windows. In early April Microsoft released Windows 8.1.1, or Windows 8.1 Update 1, the first update to Windows 8.1.

Go directly to the desktop instead of the Start screen

The Start screen was introduced with the release of Windows 8 to make it more convenient for tablet users to navigate apps. However, this is something that many mouse users and those who are used to older versions of Windows have found difficult to use. With the first version of Windows 8, there was no way to change this setting before.

With the 8.1 update released last year, you were able to change your settings so that your computer booted directly to your desktop, instead of the Start screen. Now, with Windows 8.1.1 new computers that don’t have a touch screen should automatically boot into the familiar desktop screen. Users who have the OS installed already can still set Windows to boot directly to the desktop.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Control Panel.
  2. Select Appearance and Personalization.
  3. Choose Taskbar and Navigation.
  4. Select the Navigation tab.
  5. Enable the option that says “When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start” by clicking the checkbox next to it.
  6. Click the OK button to save the change you’ve made.

You should now go directly to the desktop screen once Windows is started or when you close an application, instead of being taken to the Start screen.

Updated Start screen interface

Aside from the applications that you see on the Start screen, you can easily view all available apps by clicking on the down arrow on the lower left of the screen. You will also see a search button on the upper right side, as well as a power button next to it that you can click to shutdown, restart or put the computer into sleep mode. Moving your mouse to the bottom part of the screen will also show you the taskbar with the Start button and other apps appearing on it.

When you right click an app on the Start screen it will no longer launch the application bar. Instead, you will be given various options, which is what would usually be the case when you right click. These options include turn live tile off, resize, uninstall, pin to taskbar, and unpin from start.

Photos and other media no longer open with apps on the Start screen

With the first version of Windows 8, photos and other media were opened by default using the Metro apps on the Start screen. With Windows 8.1.1, images are now automatically opened using Photo Viewer, while other media is opened using Windows Media. This is the same experience that the older Windows operating systems provided, which most users are familiar with.

Pin Metro apps to the taskbar

The taskbar is a popular Windows desktop feature, allowing you to pin your most used or open desktop apps to. However, with Windows 8 and 8.1 you couldn’t pin Metro apps to the desktop taskbar. With the new update you can post Metro apps to the taskbar and even interact or launch them from the desktop.

A dedicated Settings tile

For those that prefer to use the Start screen there is a new Settings tile that has been added. This can really help customizing your computer far easier.

If you have any queries about the latest Windows update which is free to download, get in touch. We have the answers!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Posted in: News / Updates, Tips & Tricks

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