Category Archives: Windows 10

Windows 7 Ending?

Windows 7

Here’s a question from one of my customers:

I see that Windows 7 finishes in January, do you think it’s worth upgrading my computer to Windows 10? How much is the cost for this?

I am being asked this sort of question a lot recently. Here’s my answer.

When Microsoft ends support for Windows 7 on 14th Jan 2020, nothing will change immediately. If it worked on Jan 13th, it’ll still work on Jan 15th.

There are two implications though:

  1. Microsoft will no longer have people working in Windows 7, so any problems that are found with it won’t be fixed. There is only one area where this matters – security flaws. If a security weakness is found in Windows 7 in the future, it won’t be fixed. Arguably, this makes Win 7 less secure as time passes, but personally I think the dangers are overstated. It’s ages since any security flaws were discovered in Win7, and anyway most home-PC attacks are not based on security flaws in the operating system, they are based on tricking the user.

  2. More importantly, other companies will stop testing new versions of their products on Windows 7, because if Microsoft has lost interest in it, they reckon they can too. So Sage 2021, for example, probably won’t be guaranteed to run on Windows 7. It may do, but Sage won’t guarantee that it will. So if you run any program that needs to be kept up to date, there’s no guarantee that this will be possible after 2020. For most people that doesn’t matter much – even if future versions of some program won’t work, the version they have now will still be fine.

    The problem eventually comes, for most people, with their browser – the thing they look at web pages with. Things like Chrome get regular updates to cope with fancy new websites. Over time, never versions of Chrome won’t work on Windows 7, and you might not be able to view some websites properly.

    You’d also have to find an anti-virus program where future updated versions will work under Windows 7, but that should be fairly easy, at least for a few years. I think Malwarebytes that I recommend will be OK.

All that takes ages to really become a problem – several years. So I’d say there’s no need to do anything for a year or two, but when the time comes to buy a new computer, it probably should use Windows 10. All new computers do, anyway.

It’s a bit like running an old car. I used to have a Saab, and then Saab went out of business. Nothing stopped me running the car, but
over time spare parts got harder to get (but not impossible). But after a while it didn’t meet new emission regulations (it was a diesel)
and they wanted to change me for driving into London (plus the congestion change) and higher road tax. So when the time came to
change it, I couldn’t buy another Saab anyway, but I bought a petrol car rather than another diesel. Same when they phased out 4-start petrol – nothing changed overnight, but over a few years we all changed to unleaded.

So it’s the same with Windows 7. No need to do anything for a couple of years, but when you buy your next PC, don’t expect it to be Windows.

Windows 10 is OK anyway, and much of it is better than Windows 7. It’s pretty similar to Windows 7, so (unlike with Windows 8) people usually get used to it reasonably

Sound not working?

If your sound has suddenly stopped working, and you’re running Windows 10 (version 1803) and received an automatic Microsoft update on or around 11th October 2018, Microsoft have a post about how to fix it here.

There’s also a rather more technical Reddit thread here which explains how to fix it from the Command prompt or a Powershell prompt (in either case it must be an admin-level prompt). Essentially, list the drivers with

pnputil /enum-drivers

and find the one that looks like this:

Original Name: intcaudiobus.inf
Provider Name: Intel(R) Corporation
Class Name: System devices
Class GUID: {4d36e97d-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}
Driver Version: 08/22/2018 09.21.00.3755
Signer Name: Microsoft Windows Hardware Compatibility Publisher

Note the “Published Name” – let’s say it’s this:

 Published Name: oemXXXX.inf

Finally, do this command, using the value you found instead of oemXXXX.inf:

pnputil /delete-driver oemXXXX.inf /uninstall

Sound should now work. No need to restart the PC.

This only affects PCs which use Intel High Definition Audio; by 12th October 2018 Microsoft had withdrawn the update, but if it has already been applied, it stays applied and your sound won’t work.

Windows 10 – how open an “Elevated Command Box”

An Elevated Command Box is a useful way to run certain specialised commands. Here’s how you do it:

Right-click the Start Button

The Start Button is the little flag icon in the bottom-left corner of the main screen in Windows 10.

Right-click the Start Button to get a menu of useful commands. From here you can click on Command Prompt (Admin) to get an elevated command prompt – you’ll be asked for permission first (just click Yes). It will open in a black window. When you’ve finished with the command box, you can type exit or just close the black window by clicking the normal “red X”.

Windows 10 – Use The Search Box

Windows 10 search

The Windows 10 Search Box is a very useful tool, and under-used by many people. You can use it to search for almost anything on your PC (and maybe on the Web) – files, photos, documents, settings, and so on.

It’s at the bottom of your main PC screen (the desktop), just to the right of the little Windows flag (the Start button). It may contain the words “Search Windows”, “Search Windows and the Web”, or “Ask me anything”, depending on your PC’s settings.

It may also just be an icon, like this: Seatch icon

To use it, just type the start of a word or phrase into it. As you type, it will show you matching things that it finds.

Windows 10 Search Box
The Windows 10 Search Box

Let’s say we want to find Windows’s “Command Box”. So I type com and up it pops:

Run the command box

I could either click it to run a command box, or right-click and choose Run as administrator to run an Elevated Command Box (that is, a command box with extra privileges).

Lost your Internet connection?

Many of my customers have contacted me in the last week because they cannot get on the Internet – they sometimes see a message about not having a valid IP address.

This seems to have happened after a recent Windows 10 update. In every case, setting a static (fixed) IP address has fixed the problem. Here’s how to set a static IP address in Windows, and more extensive article here, which also covers Macs.

Continue reading Lost your Internet connection?

How do I tell what version of Windows I’m running?

There are a number of ways, but one of the easiest, and one that works on all modern versions of Windows is this:

Use Win+R:

Windows and R keys
How to get the Run box

In details: hold down the Windows key, press and release the “R” key, let go of the Windows key.

Win and R keys
How to get the Windows “Run” box

The “Run box” will appear:

win-run-command

Type “winver” (without the quotes) and click “OK”.

screenshot
Windows 10 Anniversary Edition

You’ll be shown a box that tells you which Windows you have (Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 8, Windows 10), and, in smaller letters the version and edition – version 1610 of Windows 10 Pro, for example. Click “OK” to make the box go away.

Taming Windows 10

Updated 16th September 2016

Windows 10 screenshot
Windows 10

People say they don’t like Windows 10, but I find a few simple changes make it much better. Here are the changes I usually make for my customers. These are just my preferences, I’m not claiming everyone will agree, but they suit me and they seem to suit most of my customers.

As Windows 10 is the last ever version of Windows (there will be lots of small changes, but no more “big bang” new versions), we might as well get it how we want it, and just start calling it “Windows”.

Continue reading Taming Windows 10

Is Windows 10 awful?

Windows 10 screenshot
Windows 10

Now the “free upgrade” period for getting Windows 10 is over, where do we stand? It seems to have come in for a lot of criticism, much of which seems to me to be rather undeserved. I’ve upgraded dozens of my customers for Windows 10, and had remarkably few problems.

The criticism seems to fall into three areas:

  1. The upgrade doesn’t work.
  2. My printer doesn’t work any more.
  3. I don’t like it.

Continue reading Is Windows 10 awful?

Time to upgrade to Windows 10?

Windows 10 screenshot
Windows 10

Windows 10 was released in July 2015, with the offer of free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 home users (there is no Windows 9). My advice at the time to most of my customers was to wait and see how Windows 10 worked out, and not to rush into the upgrade. Sure enough, there was a major re-release of Windows 10 in November 2015 (the “Fall upgrade” or the “1511 upgrade”).

My advice now to most users is to take the free upgrade. Continue reading Time to upgrade to Windows 10?