Tech – for Everyone

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

GWX.EXE (Or, How To Remove the Windows 10 Upgrade Nag)

Savvy Users may have noticed a new process in their Task Manager, namely GWX.EXE. Which stands for “Get Windows X” (“X” meaning 10), and is responsible for that new “Windows Logo” icon in your Notification Tray (the right part of your Taskbar, with the clock). Which was pushed onto us by Microsoft’s Update process via the KB3035583 update

gwx_notifgwx_tm_snip

Now I know that some of you are eagerly awaiting June 29th to get the latest Windows version, but for those of you who, like me, never install version 1.0 of anything, or like me, rely on Windows Media Center (not included in Windows 10), and would prefer that the Microsoft nag and downloader package NOT be on their systems, simply Uninstall Windows Update KB3035583.

For those who don’t know how to do that, I have been busily preparing the How To tutorial.

But Scott Thurow beat me to it. So instead of me reinventing the wheel, I’ll just point you here: How to stop the Windows 10 Upgrade from downloading on your system

NOTE: You can always go back and get KB3035583 at a later date. (And I expect, since Microsoft is hellbent on getting the entire world using Windows 10, that they’ll push this same thing in future updates (and any other trick they can think of)).

Today’s quote:If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” ~ Yogi Berra

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.

June 8, 2015 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, removing Updates, software, tech, tweaks, Windows, Windows 10 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Best Antivirus | Goggle’s Free Wi Fi | Windows 8| More

(Wow. It’s Thursday already.) Here are some “informations” I think you’ll find helpful and/or interesting.

Yesterday, I reminded you that in today’s world, all your Internet-capable devices need to have an antivirus/security product. But which one? Are some better than others? Oh, yes. (And, last year’s top pick may be this year’s dud.) I no longer have time to do my own testing, but for years I have relied on Neil Rubenking at PC Magazine to do that heavy lifting for me. He has just published his Choose the Best Antivirus in 2013

We put just about every antivirus product through rigorous testing to help you choose the one that will suit you best. We award the Editor’s Choice designation to those that we consider to be top-of-the-line in one way or another, but if your criteria are different from ours you can get details from our reviews of all of the available choices.” Read more..

Seems it’s (past) time for me to reevaluate my personal rankings of the free AV’s category…

Another article of his caught my attention as well. Why You Shouldn’t Trust Google’s Free WiFi Network

Last week, Google unveiled plans to build a free wireless Internet zone in Chelsea, a New York City neighborhood. Pretty much every news report and social media conversation focused on how the free Wi-Fi would give people in the area easy access to the Internet.Read more..

[Giving away free Internet. Hmm.. aside from TNSTAAFL.. how about cui bono?]

Also, Deb Shinder is writing a series those of you with Windows 8 may find very helpful. Talking Tech: Getting Your Favorite Features Back in Windows 8: Windows Media Center

Last month, I started this series on how Windows 8 users can get back some of the features that were removed, beginning with the Start button/menu. My plan was to tell you, this month, how to install Windows Media Center. It’s good that I waited, because the process I would have described a month ago seems to no longer work. You can still get Windows 8 back, but you might have to pay for it – even though Microsoft says it’s free until January 31. Here’s a little background and the story of my recent experiences.Read more..

Oh, there’s more I’d like to share with you today, but I’m out of time. Have a great day everybody!

IMG_0464

“You can use a Chromebook to find videos of cats on YouTube. This proves it meets the needs of 99.9% of internet users worldwide.”
(Not only is he probably correct, but that says a lot about us.)

Okay. I found a minute, so here’s one more Reading reco: The Chromebook — it’s like an iPad, but with a keyboard

I wasn’t expecting to like it, but in the end I loved it. The Chromebook could be the perfect post-PC device that has a keyboard.Read more..

Today’s quote:A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.” ~ James Dent

(Okay. So? I’m ready for warmer weather.)

Copyright 2007-2013 © “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.

January 17, 2013 Posted by | advice, antivirus, computers, consumer electronics, Google, Internet, mobile, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Netflix For Android Phones – At Last

(And How To Add Netflix To Windows Media Center)

Good news for Android owners. Just this morning I discovered that the Netflix app was now available for my phone – yay! In fact, the description on the app’s Market blurb says it is now available for all Android 2.2 and 2.3 devices. (Available free from the Android Market.)

Bones - The Santa in the Slush

I have been waiting for that. (the iPhone has had the app for some time now, so it’s nice to ‘catch up’…)

In my very brief testing on my HTC MyTouch 4G, I had full access to my account (such as my que and history) and resumed watching an episode of Bones right where I had left off watching it on a TV.

I only had time to test it through my Wi Fi, but sound and video and ‘playback’ quality were excellent.

I have not had time to discover just how much more unproductive this will make me, or how much sleep I will lose (as I have been known to take the phone to bed with me and watch an episode of NCIS [on cbs.com..]) but I will report on that soon enough.

While Netflix can be viewed on your PC with your favorite web browser, I have found that I like using Windows Media Center for my viewing better. To get Netflix working with WMC, all you need is to install the plug-in.

1) Open Media Center, and use the down arrow to get to TV + Movies, then the left arrow to get to Netflix.

2) Clicking on that will start the plug-in’s installer (or, you can get it here). Silverlight is required.

3) Login to your Netflix account and..

you’re watching your Netflix streaming programs and movies with the easily remote-controlled WMC.

Today’s free download: Everything
Everything is a search engine for your computer that locates files and folders by name practically instantly. I hate to say, but it blows Windows Search away.. and there is a portable version, so you do not need to “install” Everything to benefit from it. Give it a try. Clean. Simple. Fast. Thorough.

Today’s reading reco: Life After Anonymous – Interview with a Former Hacker

“An interview with @SparkyBlaze, a self-identified former member of the rogue hacktivist group Anonymous, has been published by Jason Lackey. They asked what the hacker’s advice would be for companies that want to stay as secure as possible. The funny thing is that this is what any security expert worth their salt would say. Check out these 14 points and see how your own organization stacks up” Read more..

Today’s quotable quote:Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.” ~ Francesca Reigler

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


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September 12, 2011 Posted by | advice, Android, computers, digital Video, free software, how to, Internet | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Oops | Internet TV | Etc.

First and foremost, I need to apologize to my shamrock-influenced friends for failing to wish them a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day. Sorry guys.

Next up, a short “Friday Fun” video.

Almost a year ago I wrote an article How To Watch TV On Your Computer, which mentioned Hulu, a “streaming media” portal. For those who make use of Hulu on a fairly regular basis, you may (if you haven’t already) want to download and install the Hulu Desktop app.
Hulu Desktop gives you a 10′, remote-controllable interface (for your TV).

And, for those of you who make use of Hulu on a fairly regular basis and also are using Windows Media Center on your Windows 7 PC, you can download and install Hulu Desktop Windows 7 Media Center Integration 2.0.

Hulu Desktop Integration 2.0 provides an easy way for users to go back and forth between Windows Media Center and Hulu Desktop. When clicking on HULU in Windows 7 Media Center, the software automatically closes Windows Media Center, Starts HULU Desktop Maximized in full screen. When you are done with HULU Desktop, click on Exit in the main menu, the software will automatically start Windows Media Center back up in full screen mode.

This software is aimed at people who want to have a easy way of switching with just their remote controls while sitting on the couch.

Please note.. while I did fiddle around with Hulu Desktop, I do not have a media center PC & TV hookup running, so I – personally – have not tested the integrator. However, I have seen it recommended in such reputable places as PC World magazine (so I am comfortable recommending it).
I would appreciate reader feedback on this one.

… rainstorm blowin’ in. Think I’ll stay indoors..

[related update: Wow. We just got a tornado warning.. We don’t get those. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/San-Mateo-Co-Under-Tornado-Warning–118253114.html. I cannot remember ever hearing of one.. and I grew up here. They say the safest place is in your basement. Um.. basement? This is Kallyfornyah. Who has a basement?]

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


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March 18, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, digital Video, dtv, how to, Internet, PC, software, tech, Windows, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Commercial Free TV*

Using Your PC to Record and Watch TV is “Good”. No Commercials Is Better!

I used the switch to digital TV broadcasting as my excuse to stop watching TV.

Why have I stopped? Because I reached a certain Maximum Threshold of Tolerance. And, I don’t want to risk a RSI, (repetitive-stress injury) ala “carpal tunnel”, from constantly reaching for the remote so I can hit the Mute, Skip, Pause, Die You Stinking Commercial, Die !!! buttons. Also, I despise “reality TV”. I don’t think I’m alone.https://i1.wp.com/www.hrrc.org/Image/betamax.jpg

The usual method for defeating commercials is to record your desired program on a Betamax, VHS, TiVo, DVR, or Media Center PC, and then “fast forwarding” (skipping) over the commercial advertisements; which long ago failed to meet the most modest standards of taste and decorum. Or we purchase movies and watch those… a few trailers at the beginning we can tolerate.

There should be a better way, and there is.

Today’s free download: If you use Windows Media Center to record programs, there is a pure genius program, for which I would like to throw the author(s?) a parade, which will automatically strip the commercials out of your recordings. That’s right – remove. That results in smaller files, and more enjoyable entertainment.

Lifextender is a dead-simple commercial-removal application designed exclusively for Windows Vista Media Center users. There is ZERO configuration required, however, there are plenty of options if that’s your thing.

[note: Lifeextender is “donationware”, meaning you can “tip” the author any amount, if you so desire. I “tip” my geek hat, and that’s for sure!]

* Orig post: 6/17/09

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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June 12, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, digital Video, dtv, how to, software | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Media Center Recordings Filled Disk

Someone called my biz asking for my help with a very slow computer that was also “acting odd”. Nothing unusual there, a lot of my calls start that way. What was unusual was that my investigations revealed that all the usual suspects were not at fault, and I really couldn’t detect anything “wrong” with the machine. That was unusual.

volume_props So I looked further and I found a possible culprit — their rather large hard drive was totally, absolutely, and completely full. Oops. Not good. I won’t bore you with the geek, but I will tell you that Windows needs “free space” in order to function properly.
My caller had none. Zip. Zero. Nada.

My questioning, and looking at the file system, revealed that the caller had set their computer to record their favorite television programs – much like a TiVo or DVR does – and had not really been too good about actually watching the recordings, or deleting them when finished with them. And Windows Media Center had just kept recording and recording…

Tip of the day: Limit the amount of space Windows Media Center can use for recordings, and prevent hard drive fill-up syndrome.

1) Open WMC and scroll the menu down to Tasks, and then left to Settings, as shown below.
WMC1

2) Scroll down to Recorder and then over to Recorder Storage.

3) Use the (minus) sign to reduce the Maximum TV limit number to a reasonable fraction of your available space. And then click Save.

To finish my caller’s story.. I deleted nearly 100 Gigabytes of recordings (some the caller couldn’t even remember setting the schedule for..) which gave Windows the free space it needed, and the machine started behaving like normal again. I then did the above steps so that it would not happen to them again.

Related links: Your hard drive, and the “file system” it contains, needs some routine maintenance to keep performing in tip-top form (often called “optimization”) and your computer comes with the tools (called “utilities”) you need to perform those maintenance tasks. I demonstrate those in this article: Revitalize Your PC With Windows’ Utilities*

Today’s free download: The tool I used to quickly analyze my client’s file system was WinDirStat (Windows Directory Statistics) which provides a graphical image of what size your files and folders are.. so you can quickly find the ginormous ones.

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

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November 24, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, file system, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, tech, troubleshooting, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments