Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

How to lock in your free Windows 10 upgrade and still keep using your old Windows

Folks, doing this kinda makes it a ‘win-win’ (presuming you’re like me, and perfectly happy with Windows 7)

* How to lock in your free Windows 10 upgrade and keep using your old Windows version

The year-long free upgrade offer for Windows 10 ends on July 29. But what if you’re not ready to upgrade yet? Here’s how to claim your upgrade so it’s available at no cost when the time comes.Read more..

Related: Six Windows 10 annoyances: How to make them go away for good

You’ve got complaints about Windows 10? Don’t worry, you’ve got plenty of company. From my mailbox, these are the top gripes about Microsoft’s new OS, with instructions to help you make those problems vanish.Read more..

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Today”s quotable quote: “Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” ~ Wayne Dyer

Copyright 2007-2015 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 13, 2016 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, tech, upgrading, Windows 10 | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tips for Selling Your Old Tech Gear

Strategies for Selling Your Old Tech Equipment

Thanks to Moore’s Law, science and technology are advancing at an exponential rate. Yesterday’s gizmos, gadgets, and doodads become outdated (obsolete, even) in just a couple of years. It seems every time I turn around, something new is in the stores — like, 3D TV.

For many of us, that means closets full of old devices.. maybe perfectly functioning equipment. And maybe some of that gear is still wanted by somebody, while others are destined only for the recyclers’ heap. But how do you tell which is which? And.. how do you find a buyer for the ‘good stuff’?

A man I admire reminded me one time of some profound wisdom, which I have taken to heart: he said, “Paul, don’t reinvent the wheel.” So today I am simply going to tell you that this subject is not a “simple answer” topic. (For one thing, the answer is different depending on whether you are talking about laptops, or printers, or cell phones, or a camera. And your options are far greater than “post it on Ebay”.)

I am also going to tell you that I have a comprehensive resource to recommend to you which breaks down the tips and strategies by categories, and provides detailed answers, as well as places to sell you may not know about.

If you are interested in trying to sell your (old) stuff, I highly recommend reading this article: How to Sell Your PC (and Other Gadgets)

Need cash to buy the latest and greatest? Here’s how to turn your drawer full of old smartphones, cameras, and other tech toys into some brand-new gear.

If you don’t plan properly, you could potentially spend so much time selling your old gear that you’d get a better hourly rate of return by spending 30 minutes taking your tech to a recycling center and picking up a side job washing windshields on the expressway.”

Also: Every time I talk about this subject, I feel compelled to remind you that you need to securely delete (see, What You Need To Know About “Delete”*) any device that “stores” information before you dispose of it. (No, “delete” is not the same as “erase forever”) In this day and age of Identity Theft, I should not have to say that… but.

Today’s (other) recommended reading:

* Fact-checking AT&T’s merger claims

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — If you’re skeptical about AT&T’s claims that its purchase of T-Mobile will benefit consumers, you’re not alone.

[see also: AT&T buys T-mobile: The 4G race is on in the US — Deutsche Telekom has agreed to sell T-Mobile USA to AT&T for $39 billion, which will help AT&T create America’s largest mobile phone provider. The real news: The 4G race is about to heat up.]

* Did you know your smartphone photos may be giving away your location?

“If you are in the habit of taking photos with your smartphone and posting them online, you may be giving away your location. Embedded in those photos, not visible to the naked eye, are what are called geotags…”

* Google Says China Is Hindering Gmail

“The company’s decision last year to refuse to censor its search results in China continues to have repercussions…”

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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March 21, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, tech | , , , , | 2 Comments

Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help! (Updated)

5 6 Methods For Getting Old Programs To Run On New Computers

This article is an updated and improved version of  Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help!, a “reader question” article that has proven quite popular. It seems quite a few people want their 12-year old, 16-bit, Gen 1 games to play on latest generation, 64-bit machines, (I don’t blame them) but it doesn’t always work. Here are some tips for solving the problem. They are in the appropriate order, IMHO. (These work in Vista as well.)

1) Turn off “hardware acceleration”. A common cause of errors and “playability issues” is the old games’ use (or lack of) of hardware “acceleration”, which is referring to the “video card”, or more accurately, the graphics driver. Most graphics drivers allow you to turn off the hardware acceleration (which may resolve your issue).
Click Start in the lower left corner of Windows.
Click Control Panel, click Appearance and Personalization, click Personalization, click Display Settings, and then click Advanced Settings.
Click the Troubleshoot tab, and then click Change Settings.Move the Hardware Acceleration slider until it is one notch to the right of None. This is the basic acceleration setting.
Click OK twice, and then close the window.
Restart the computer.

[you can also get there via the graphic adapter’s Properties in Device Manager]


[Note: Change Settings will be disabled if the graphics card drivers do not support disabling hardware acceleration. You may need to check the video card manufacturer’s website, and download the latest driver.]

2) You may need set the troublesome games to launch in “Compatibility Mode”, and tell them to run under Windows XP SP2. This article, shows you how. The “Compat Mode” section is about half way down the page.

3) You might need to try repeating Step 2, but this time install directly to your C:\ drive (by default, Windows will install programs to C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files(x86) folder) using the “Custom install” option during set up. This will eliminate some of the Permissions issues that keep older programs from running correctly.

4) You may also – if the game is old enough – need to turn off all but one CPU core. This is called “setting the affinity”. Also see, Compatibility Tricks for Old Programs, New Machines. If this resolves your issue, the article includes a download for a tool to make this setting ‘stick’.

5) For really old, DOS-based games, install DOSBox. DOSBox is a great tool, especially for old games. I would suggest reading the tutorial, here:

6) Though I view this as a bit of a ‘last resort’, you can install a “virtual machine” and run the game in there.
* If you have the Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate edition of Windows 7, you can download XP Modewhich is really Virtual PC – for free. If you have other editions of Windows, grab Virtual PC 2007 from the same place.
* Perhaps a better alternative is using VMWare Server (free), from I have read that the VMWare handles the hardware acceleration better.

In both cases, you’ll have to supply the copy of (old) Windows yourself, and install it (into the “virtual machine”) from scratch.

… I hate to say, but it is possible that you may try all these things and get unsatisfactory results. I keep an old Pentium II machine (Windows 98) around just for playing those old games (which I wouldn’t dream of connecting to the Internet!). The games play best on the hardware/OS of their day. You might need to do the same. Or.. say goodbye to your old friends.


Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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January 25, 2011 Posted by | advice, Compatibility Mode, computers, device drivers, Gaming, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, software, tech, troubleshooting, tweaks, Virtual Machine, Vista, Windows, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Quick Tip – Remove Old Passwords In Firefox

Most web browsers offer to “remember” the  user name and password combination you use to log into certain websites (such as Hotmail, or your bank, etc.) which allows for faster access when you return to the site. Firefox is no exception.

If you should need to change the remembered login on your machine – say, if you “remembered” an incorrect combo, or if you changed the login using a different machine (it is highly recommended that you change your passwords several times a year..) – the following steps will allow you to delete the ‘bad’ ones.

Tip of the day: Manage your login passwords in Firefox.

1) Open Firefox, and click on “Tools” from the menu bar at the top.
2) From the Tools menu, click on “Options…”
3) A new window will open. Click on the “Security” tab.

4) Now click the “Saved Passwords” button.
5) Now a new window will show you all of the “remembered” logon combinations that Firefox is storing for you. Simply click on the troublesome/obsolete item and then click “Remove”.

This deletes the (old) entry. Now go to the website in question. You will be asked to log in. Then Firefox will offer to “Remember” this (new) password – click Yes.

That’s it. You’re done.

Related link: For those of you who may like to learn what constitutes a good password (and, what does not) please read, Strong passwords, hidden Admin

Today’s free download: Portable Glary Utilities. Folks, I have mentioned the wonderful, free, Glary Utilities program here before. It contains a safe Registry scanner, Privacy sweeper, anti-spyware sweeper, temp file emptier, and more. Now you can carry this tool around on your thumbdrive by downloading the “portable” version. I suggest using the first link; the “self-installer”.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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November 1, 2009 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, Firefox, how to | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Computers Then and Now*

Folks, just yesterday I was once again reminded of the march of technological progress — namely, how much more power we have, in a smaller device, at far less cost. Which reminded me of this previous post I wrote, originally titled “When Bigger Was Better”.

I love to read. I love books, and magazines, and libraries. I like reading so much, that I have even purchased books; though I much prefer to get them free. I am always on the look-out for books at yard sales, Church sales, and the library’s Free Bin. I have discovered writers, and read about esoteric topics I never would have, simply because they were in a box of paperbacks I picked up for a dollar.
This has been true for as longs as I can remember.

Needless to say, the books you pick up for free at such places as I mentioned are somewhat.. well, out of date and often are really old. (The book I‘m about to mention is older than I am, if you can imagine that!)

In my latest bag of free books I discovered a book from 1961 titled, SAC, Men and Machines of Our Strategic Air Command. (This was published well before Dr. Strangelove* made the scene.) This book provided a tour of the branch of the Air Force often thought of as the “doomsday boys”– the ICBM and B-52 crews of the Cold War policy of MAD.

The reason I mention it here is because of this picture of the “computerized nerve-center” of SAC Headquarters– titled “IBM Underground Computers”


Still further underground the electronic computers of SAC hum continually as all new information of interest is fed into the giant machines. Here all information pertaining to SAC, such as status of aircraft, missiles, crews, bases, war plans and supplies, are stored for instant readiness right up to the minute. In case of war these computers would record progress of strike force, so that all data is instantly available for use in strategy maneuvers. From a trajectory center, intelligence specialists will, with the aid of such computers, mathematically compute trajectory and space data for use in aiming SAC missiles from its many bases.”

This picture fascinates me. Here you see the machines that have evolved into your PC’s today (In fact, your laptop is more capable than this whole room was).
Of particular note:
* The reel-to-reel things in the back, nearly as tall as a man, are what we call a “hard-drive” today.. and I doubt that all of them (I count 7) added together equals a Gigabyte.
* In the foreground is a printer– as big as a wetbar, and capable of printing 60 words a-minute.
* Where’s the monitor?

This was the best money could buy back then, and I would estimate you’re looking at several million dollars’ worth of equipment. State of the art– 1961.

As the saying goes, we’ve come a long way, baby!

* A Tech Paul’s Top 100 Movies list member.

Today’s free link: Looking for a great way to view and manage your RSS feeds from your desktop? Look no further than , the most popular Windows RSS reader.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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August 12, 2009 Posted by | computers, tech | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Compatibility Tricks for Old Programs, New Machines

How To Get Old Programs To Work On New Computers

So you went out and bought a new computer — congratulations! You got a good one, too: it has everything, including a dual-core processor. You have installed your favorite programs, and by that, I mean your games — great!

There’s just one catch — now some of your games misbehave and act like they’re in hyperdrive, everything moves at warp speed, and instead of three bloodthirsty hobgoblins, there’s thirty. You’re getting killed faster than you can press your “S” key… and that isn’t any fun! Or worse, the game will just freeze in mid-play.

I first noticed this on Battlefield 1942 (the whole series, actually). And then I noticed it on Call of Duty, but not so much on Call of Duty 2. And it was really bad on Quake. It became clear to me that the older the game, the more susceptible to this unplayability it was.

If this has happened to you, the odds are good you have a dual, triple, or quad core CPU. These processors weren’t available when these programs were written, and so the programmers didn’t factor in their ability to process multiple “threads” — basically what’s happening is these new processors are making two (or four) ‘events’ occur at the same time, where they are meant to happen one at a time.

But don’t worry… you need not say goodbye to your favorite games!

Tip of the day: Getting older programs to run smoothly on a new machine is just a couple of clicks away. Some of your programs are going to require you to “turn off” one of the ‘cores’ before it will run right.
To do this, launch the program and let it load (but don’t start using/playing it yet).
Now launch the Windows Task Manager by doing the “three fingered salute”, combination-press the Ctrl+Alt+Del keys (or Start >Run and enter “taskmgr” no quotes).
Click on (select) the Processes tab. tm.jpg

This shows a list of all the running processes on your machine, and how much RAM and CPU cycles are being used by each process. I have launched Battlefield 1942, which shows as the top (most recent) process.
* Right-click on the app that you want to adjust, in our case “BF 1942.exe”.

For some reason, the program-to-processor linkage is called “Affinity“, so from the menu of choices that appear due to our right-clicking, we want to click on (select) “Set Affinity”.
If you have a dual-core CPU, two CPU’s will be shown and checked, A quad-core, four.. We want to uncheck all but one… as shown below.


With luck, now your program will run like it should. Unfortunately, you must do this each time you want to launch your game/program. Sometimes, the game manufacturer’s will issue a “patch” that will mitigate this issue. Visit their website and look for downloadable “patches” and/or “updates”.

For really old programs and games, you may need to set them to run in something called “compatibility mode“. Mostly these will be items you have left over from your Windows 98 (or Me) days… but if you’re running Vista, you may need to do this for programs that ran fine on XP. Right-click on the program’s shortcut (desktop) icon and select (click) Properties. Now click on the Compatibility tab, as shown below.

Use the drop-down arrow to select the operating system you would like the program to run in as if it were installed. Here I am telling a Vista machine to run a XP environment, but you may need to set it to “Windows 98”. A little experimentation will determine your best choice.

See also, Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help! (Updated) for more help.

Today’s free download: There’s a small app called Prio that allows you to “Save” priority and affinity, so you won’t have to set them at each launch.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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<a href=”; target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help! (Updated)</a>

June 28, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, dual-core processors, Gaming, how to, PC, performance, tech, tweaks, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

40 Days To Armageddon

(Or, Are You Ready For The Digital Switch?)

In just a few short weeks the world will come to an end, and life as we know it will cease to be.

Of course, what I’m referring to the upcoming digital TV transition.
Congress mandated that February 17, 2009 would be the last day for full-power television stations to broadcast in analog. Broadcast stations in all U.S. markets are currently broadcasting in both analog and digital. After February 17, 2009, full-power television stations will broadcast in digital only.old_tv_set

What do I need to do to be ready for the end of analog TV broadcasting?

If you have one or more televisions that receive free over-the-air television programming (with a roof-top antenna or “rabbit ears” on the TV), the type of TV you own is very important. A digital television (a TV with an internal digital tuner) will allow you to continue to watch free over-the-air programming after February 17, 2009.

However, if you have an analog television, you will need a digital-to-analog converter box to continue to watch broadcast television on that set. This converter box will also enable you to see any additional multicast programming that your local stations are offering.

Analog sets should continue to work as before if connected to a subscription service such as cable or satellite TV. Also, analog sets should continue to work with gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products that you use now.

Will I need a special antenna to receive DTV over-the-air?

In general, dependable reception of over-the-air digital TV programming will require the same type of signal reception equipment that currently works to provide good quality reception of analog TV programming. If you need a roof-top antenna to receive analog TV broadcasts, the same antenna generally will work to receive digital TV broadcasts. You should not have to purchase new antennas that are marketed as “digital ready” or “HD ready.”

What is the Converter Box Coupon Program?

To help consumers with the DTV transition, the Government established the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program. Every U.S. household is eligible to receive up to two coupons, worth $40 each, toward the purchase of eligible digital-to-analog converter boxes.

The coupons may only be used for eligible converter boxes sold at participating consumer electronics retailers, and the coupons must be used at the time of purchase. (Please note that these coupons will expire 90 days after mailing). Manufacturers estimate that digital-to-analog converter boxes will sell from $40 to $70 each. This is a one-time cost. For more information on the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program, visit, or call 1-888-388-2009 (voice) or 1-877-530-2634 (TTY).
[note: the coupon program’s funding has already been reached, and if you’re just acting now, you’ll be put on a first-come-first-served waiting list which may, or may not get you a coupon.. depends on how many coupons are cashed/expire.]

Today’s free link: The place to get answers to all your questions about the digital transition (in fact, the info above was largely copy > paste from there) is the special website provided by the Federal Communication Commission,

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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January 8, 2009 Posted by | advice, HDTV, how to, News, shopping for, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments