20 Tips That You Need To Know That Will Make Windows 8.1 Your Favorite OS, Again [VIDEO]

Photo Courtesy – Windows Facebook Page

We all know that Windows 8 was released to mixed reviews. While some people loved the new OS, others felt that it was mostly unusable in practical workplace application. Microsoft wasted no time in developing a “dot” release that would keep the people who like the new OS happy, while bringing those on board who weren’t fans. The new release has features both on the surface and deeper in the application that have solved many of the problems. Now, we want to make sure that you know the best ways to utilize them. So, here are our tips for using Windows 8.1.

Get Help

Microsoft has now released new Help + Tips apps that can help you find your way around the new platform. Just hit the down arrow in the lower left part of the display and you’ll get a list of all installed apps and Help + Tips should be in the first app section.

You Can Switch Off “Universal Search”

With the new release, the search is much more powerful. This means that the results can be quite overwhelming when searching. You’ll receive information from your computer, installed apps, and the internet. You can disable the online search component which will give a more simplified result page. Do so under Settings > Change PC settings > Search.

Dock Your Apps

While Windows 8 allows your to dock two apps, the 8.1 release allows for three. Drag an application from the top down to the bottom left to dock it. Many of the start screen applications have mini versions that are actually designed to run in the dock.

Set Alarms

The new Windows OS has an interactive alarm app that will wake you in the morning, remind you to pick up your dog from the groomer and more. Click the down arrow in the bottom left corner. You can configure your alarms there, but remember that you can only use the alarm when the computer is awake, so if your computer is set to hibernate, you run the risk of missing your alarm.

Create A System Image

For those who are used to 7, you might think that they did away with this feature. They didn’t. They just seem to have hidden it. Launch control panel > system > security > file history window. Then you’ll see the option in the bottom left of that window.

Use The New Calculator Quickly

Once again click the down arrow in the bottom left corner and launch the new 8.1 calculator app. It is dockable so you can keep it open for making frequent calculations. It also has built in scientific view and conversion tool.

View The Full Apps List By Default

Now you can add the full apps view into the list of apps that you can launch upon startup. You’ll find an option for this by right clicking on the task bar, then choose properties and open the navigation bar.

Disable Hot Corners (If you don’t use them)

8.1 allows you to disable the hot corners application. Right click the task bar, open properties, launch the navigation option. Then select “disable hot corners”.

In 8.0, dragging the start screen from the top down to the bottom closed it. But in 8.1, when you drag the start screen down, it hides the applications but leaves them running in the task manager in case you need them again in the future. You can restart the application using the same gesture. Just don’t let go of the mouse button. Instead hold it down, and the app card will flip over allowing you to access it again.

Edit Your Photos

Along with many of the other startup apps that 8.1 addressed, the photo app was one of them. You can now open photos, and the app offers simple photo editing options built into the app.

Save Items Directly To SkyDrive

Microsoft is trying to make using SkyDrive a real option for users. Under settings > change settings > open SkyDrive, you can now make SkyDrive your default save location for applications.

Make a Universal Wallpaper

While it doesn’t seem like it would make a huge difference, when customizing your computer, everything matters. You can now make your desktop background your startup background as well. Go to settings > start screen.

Create Lock Screen Slideshow

Now, using 8.1, you can sets a custom lockscreen slideshow using your own images. Just click the settings icon > PC settings > PC & Devices > Lock Screen. From there you can select your location from which to pull slideshow images.

Get Your Libraries Back

You’ve probably noticed that 8.1 doesn’t have the robust “libraries” area to separate all of your videos, music, and other items. Open the file explore to show the new “This PC” view. Then choose view, navigation pane, show libraries.

Set Up Reading View

The new release comes with Internet Explorer 11 pre-installed. If your running it as a startup item, you’ll notice a book icon when viewing certain pages. When viewing these pages you can click this icon and it will layout the page in “reading” view, which will strip all advertising and other unwanted items that irritate users when they just want to read a story.

Check App Sizes

Open settings > Change PC Settings > Search and Apps > App sizes. Windows will then show you a list of installed apps according to size. It’s always useful to have when looking to clean up some disk space.

Use Bing To Make Playlists

When searching using the Bing engine, open the Share Charm. You’ll then see a music option. From there you can create playlists from the artists that you have searched for using Bing. It’s a really cool piece of integration.

Customize the Start Screen

No longer do you have to use the stock startscreen themes that are shipped with Windows 8.0. Now you are able to customize that screen with your own images, app tile sizes, and colors. This is located under the “Personalize Settings”.

Boot Straight To The Desktop

This is probably one of the more useful features of the new 8.1 release. If you like the way your computer boots in Windows 7, then you can force Windows 8.1 to give that back. Right click on the desktop task bar. Then open the Navigation tab. Tick the checkbox that points start screen to desktop.

The Start Button

The all acclaimed start button has returned. There was an uproar due to the fact that this little gem disappeared. While the old bottom left hot corner accomplished the same thing, this should calm the masses. Use it to bring up the start screen and access control panels.

Here is a nice walkthrough of most of the features mentioned above.


When Will Skpe Get The Messaging Fix On Windows Phones? Sooner Than You Think

The Skype app on Windows phones has been plagued with problems since the launch. The out-of-sync messages and missed messages have had users complaining that the app is almost a “flop.” Well, Skype has aimed to fix that. Project manager Jeff Kunins told The Verge that Microsoft is aware of the problem and a fix is in the works as we speak.

Some of the problem seems to be the Skype cloud-based servers. Microsoft has traditionally ran on a peer-to-peer system and they say that this is where they believe that the glitch lies.

Users will be able to expect that their Windows phone will sync across multiple devices without the annoying display of old messages or already read messages. Jeff Kunins also stated that running notifications will only sync on devices that the user is currently using rather than syncing to all devices that have the app installed. This will prevent multiple devices from ringing at once. Kunins said to keep your eye out for the Windows 8.1 app as it will have all kinds of new fun things.

Photo courtesy of Skyp – Facebook

Windows 8.1 Rolls Out Early AM October 17th

Windows 8.1 will begin its rollout tomorrow morning at 4AM PT. Microsoft is hoping for a “rebirth” with the rollout of the OS update. After a rough introduction to the marketplace for Windows 8, the company has hopes that this will renew faith in the OS.

Fresh built in applications, user interface upgrades, and more powerful search technologies, are features that Microsoft hopes will calm the storm of users who are really unsatisfied with the initial release of Windows 8. Sources are stating that Windows 8.1 is to Windows 8 as Office 2010 is to Office 2007. It’s definitely an update that you want to install on your machine.

Not all computers will receive the new code at exactly 4AM PT. Some will see the update in the Windows store later. But, most people will see this new update waiting for them as they wake up in the morning.

Depending on how Skydrive, Bing, Skype and other services behave with the roll out, even this new release has the potential to be tarnished. That being said, for the most part, these applications have been quite stable as of late.

The big question is, “How many people will actually install the upgrade?” With the issues that people have with the initial release, I don’t see any reason why people wouldn’t jump on this update the moment they see it available.

For those who are chomping at the bit, or satisfied with the current OS, they will all have their chance to upgrade first thing in the morning.

Photo via Windows Facebook Page

Microsoft To Launch The Surface 2 On September 23rd – Pricing & Specs

he second generation of the Microsoft Surface tablet will be launched tomorrow (September 23rd) at an invitation only event in New York City.

Over the past month there have been many leaks as to what consumers can expect from the new Surface 2. Microsoft has neither confirmed or denied the leaked information leading people to speculate that the leaks are “on target” for what’s to come in the new generation.

As far as the look goes, there will not be anything new to brag about. It will be the same 10.6 inch screen and VaporMg casing. It will also have the same snap-on keyboard compatibility as the current Surface.

The new Surface will have exact same number of USB ports as its predecessor and will be a wifi only device.  There will be no 4G LTE support in this release. It will have a Tegra 4 processor, but the new Surface Pro (2nd gen) will have an i5 Haswell processor and get 7-8 hours of life out of the battery. The display will feature the Clear Type full HD display.

One of the more anticipated features rumored to be part of the new generation is the docking station which Microsoft had said that they were not going to release for the Surface. Granted it will only be compatible for the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 models. You can expect it to include on USB 3 port as well as 2 USB 2 ports built into the dock.

The new Surface Power Cover is another peripheral that has got users excited is the Surface Power Cover. This new cover will be thicker and tougher and will also have a built in battery which will extend the battery life by an undisclosed amount. You can expect them to be showing this off during the announcement tomorrow.

You can expect the new Surface to be available in mid October. It’s expected that the new Surface will become available for purchase around the same time that Windows 8.1 is available to the general public. It is not known whether Microsoft will be taking pre-orders on the new Surface.

For those looking for some price reductions due to the slow sales of the first generation of the Surface, don’t get too excited. It doesn’t look like Microsoft made any real cuts to the pricing of the new version. Sources say that they are planning to keep selling their RT version along side the new version. They are expected to keep the price of the 1st gen at $350 for the 32GB version with no cover. The 32 GB Surface 2 will be listed at $500 and the 64 GB version is expected to start at $600.

The Surface Pro will continue to start at $800 and the new version will start at $900 for a 64 GB version. There will also be a 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB versions available for the Pro Version. Those models will be priced at $1000, $1300, and $1700 according to sources.

Touch, type, and docking stations will be priced separately. Do keep in mind that the pricing of the device is from leaked sources and might be a little off from what is announced during the launch on September 23rd.

Windows 8.1 Fixes Problems & Adds New Features While Keeping ‘Touch’ The Main Focus

During the Microsoft Keynote in San Fransisco the company offered the preview version of Windows 8.1 which you can download here. There are some sweeping changes to the OS and to the happiness of PC users, upgrades to the user interface. But, if you were hoping for a return to the Windows 7 layout, you will be disappointed. Microsoft’s focus is still very much focused that the touch market. Much of the following upgrades were in response to suggestions (complaints) from users of the intial release of Windows 8.

The Start Menu will be back, in a sense.

In a move towards the touch interface, Windows removed the start button from the new interface. This was one of the biggest complaints about the new OS. While you still won’t get the exact same start button functionality that you did when using Windows 7, it is much improved and is a simple click and type to access applications. At the bottom of the pop-up menu, you will now have the return of the restart/shut down options as well. It would be nice if they would add back the control panel and device manager as well, but this is not in the current update.

Boot To Desktop

For those who primarily use their computer via keyboard and mouse, the 8.0 Touch UI is still a “thorn in the side” of users. 8.1 offers the ability to boot directly to the desktop of the UI making it easier for those on Keyboard and mouse navigation.

X-Box Music Gets More Intuitive

In the 8.0 release Microsoft allowed for the free streaming of more than 30 million songs using the XBox Music app. The new version will have better ability to redesign the player and interface. A left navigation lets the user explore music, songs, artists, and videos. You can now create Pandora-like radio stations entering an artist or song and getting a stream of similar music. This might well become your new “go-to” app for music streaming.

Upgraded Search

Now when searching you will get global results from multiple sources including your SkyDrive and other Apps. When searching for broad internet terms you will get what’s referred to as the “hero screen” which displays images, links and other useful resources regarding your search. This is all done natively in the search interface before taking you to your browser.

Snap Views Flexibility

In 8.1, running simultaneous apps will be easier as you can now resize your current app window and “snap” these views into different locations on your monitor. With a high resolution dual monitor set-up you can now run up to 8 apps simultaneously on the display at once.


You can now personalize your device with ease. You can set your start button, preferred desktop, and even your lock screen can pull images directly from your SkyDrive.

Much Improved Camera

You now have a full set of editing tools that you can use to crop, adjust color, correct red eye and more. The new color enhancement feature will let you create rich images right in the camera app.

Windows App Store

The new Windows app store has larger images, better flow and is expected to excite developers who are writing apps for the new OS.

Will these upgrades increase popularity? Only time will tell.



Microsoft To End Support Of Windows XP In 2014

For those of you who are still running it at home or in your business, know that Microsoft will no longer be offering support of Windows XP after April of 2014. The shocking thing about this is the number of people who are still utilizing Windows XP. Since XP Microsoft has released Vista, Windows 7, and now Windows 8.

If you are currently running XP, now might be the time to consider looking to upgrade. Most computers that are running XP should be able to run Windows 7. If not, that’s probably a good sign that your computer is quite outdated and might be time for a new system all together.

With the shift of technology, upgrading to Windows 7 or 8 might seem like a giant step, but it is worth it. Office 2010 is worth the upgrade alone. The ability to customize your mail software to your personal liking is immense and will make your experience all that much better, along with more productive.

For businesses who are still on an XP platform, it is a necessity. The network drivers will definitely need to be upgraded to a newer OS in order to handle newer servers and printers. Sometimes the drivers for older versions of Windows are not compatible and render your devices useless. Running Windows XP will also make your business not compliant with HIPAA. This can result in huge fines.

It may sound like a bit of an investment, but it will definitely save you bigtime in the long run. If you have any questions about upgrading your personal or business network, feel free to contact us.

Everything You Need To Know About Windows 8.1

With the release of Windows 8, or Windows Blue as many call it, there were huge improvements and some other aspects that had users scratching their heads. Well, 8.1 looks to build off what works well, and call “Do-Over” on what didn’t. That’s what ‘dot’ releases are for, right?

So, here are some things that you can expect in the new Windows 8.1 release. The developers are making the interface more easy to use, adding new features, and adding support for smaller screen devices. The great thing about these upgrades is that they cost nothing.

User Interface

Start Button: Microsoft removed the start button from the first release of Windows 8 and you would have thought they were ending the world. They now realize that the functionality built behind the start button is mandatory for most users and it is coming back. Users will also be able to set their default screen to the “All Apps” screen which should appease many who utilize the start button pop-up.

New Live Tiles: Windows 8 originally only came with the two preset tile sizes. The large and small. Which allowed users to select larger tiles for features they used more often or smaller tiles for those that aren’t quite as important. Or if you had your facebook feed imported directly to your start screen you could use the large tile to display the first few messages. That was nice, but now they are taking it a step further. You can now use even a smaller tile which will fit four tiles into the same space as the initial small tile. This should calm some of the masses who complain that the start screen doesn’t offer a folder system.

Downloaded Apps No Longer Instantly Pin To Start Screen: No more will every app downloaded automatically pin itself to the start screen. You will have that option after download. This will inevitably end up with a much cleaner start screen for the average user.

All Apps Gesture: Finally, a simple gesture will show you all the apps installed on your machine. A simple swipe up and your there.

Auto Updates: Windows 8.1 will now automatically update your apps overnight while your sleeping.

Boot To Desktop: Windows 8.1 now saves you the click it takes to load the desktop version. You can change this in your settings.

More Colors & Textures: The updated OS will offer many new color schemes for your environment and will also support textures as well.

Desktop Background Image On Start: You can now match your start screen background with your desktop environment background. While it seems small, it makes a difference to some users.

New Features

Global Search: Windows 8.1 welcomes you to the omnibox experience on the new release. The global search function is one of the most used functions of any OS and you will now have access to it on your Windows machine, again. The search “Hero” will replace the Bing app.

Snap Display: This allows you to run two apps simultaneously on the same screen. One app will take up 25% of the screen while the other utilizes the other 75%. You can also snap more than two apps and run multiples on the same screen.

Better Support For Multiple Monitors: The new Settings app allows you to manually set the resolution of secondary monitors if you wish.

Reading List: In any app with content (including IE), users will now be able to save that content ‘offline’ so they can read it at their leisure, without an internet connection.

IE Improvements: IE in Windows 8.1 supports endless tabs. Also, you can make live tiles out of your favorite websites.

Active Lock Screen: The lock screen supports an intelligent slide show so it can do cool stuff like display photos on your device from exactly one year ago and make Skype calls without unlocking the device.

App Syncing Across Devices: When you log into a second Windows 8.1 device, the same apps you have on one device will automatically download and sync to the other device.

Photo Editing: The photos app gets basic photo editing in Windows 8.1.

New Microsoft Apps: Windows 8.1 introduces new Microsoft apps including a Calculator, alarm, food & drink, and health & fitness.

Apps Enhancements: the Xbox-branded apps for music, video and games all introduce new features that bring you to the content you interact with most often.

Small Screen Support

Microsoft knows and is willing to admit that it completely missed the mark when it came to small screen tablets, which have really become the more popular devices over the last two years. The issues that caused display problems on these devices have been addressed in the new Windows 8.1 release.

All screenshots courtesy of Mashable.com

Windows 8 Only Makes Sense With A Touchscreen [VIDEO]

Windows 8 has, so far, only had a lukewarm reception.  The main reason?  Most people are installing it on – or buying it new on – a traditional laptop or desktop.


Without a touchscreen, Windows 8 just doesn’t make sense.


As a Microsoft Partner, I got my hands on a copy of Windows 8 before it was available to the public and I installed it on my workstation. My experience? I felt like I was trying to conduct business computing on my son’s Xbox 360. I was constantly trying to hover my mouse in one corner or another in order to find an app or a program or something that I could use. I was desperate just to get back to the desktop that I was familiar with. My productivity at work sank and my opinion of Windows 8 went with it.


Why didn’t I didn’t like it? I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.


That’s when we got our first shipment of Lenovo’s All-In-One IdeaCentres and I realized that Microsoftmight be on to something. Using the touchscreen changed my Windows 8 experience from a productivity killer to a faster way of getting around and a realization that I was connected to the PC via the touchscreen. This was a feeling I was all too familiar with from my experiences with my smartphone and tablet.


What if Microsoft had figured out a way to only release Widows 8 on devices with touchscreens? Would satisfaction have been dramatically higher – causing a boost in sales? Honestly, I believe so.


Since I’ve had the ability to use Windows 8 on a touchscreen, I’ve realized that it’s much more powerful than when using my old monitor, keyboard and mouse.


In short, it’s a waste of money buying a PC or laptop that has Windows 8 but lacks a touchscreen. You will have to fork over an extra couple of hundred dollars initially but you will gain a love for the new OS and hours of  lost productivity and fewer frustrations.


Windows 8 Review

When it comes to using the new OS, Windows 8, There can be some confusion even with experienced windows users. The new interface is set up to be more efficient for tablets and touch screens which can be very frustrating for laptop and desktop users. The greatest complaint Windows 8 has had is, everyone wants their start menu back. Good news for anyone who misses it, you can download it online and get it back. It is called Start Windows 8/StartMenu8, it is free to download and use.

Windows now has a lock screen also, this can be confusing to new users, but it’s as simple as tapping the space bar, touching your screen upward and moving your mouse to show the login screen. All in all windows 8 is faster and more convenient for internet users.There have been a few drastic changes but nothing that can’t be changed back. A great thing to remember is to keep your computer up to date and have updated software compatible with windows 8 for better service.


Free Windows 8 start menu: http://www.iobit.com/iobitstartmenu8.php

The Lenovo ThinkPad Twist Is Here + It’s Awesome [VIDEO]

The Lenovo ThinkPad Twist has made a huge splash in the TouchScreen Convertible laptop genre of new technology. This new laptop is a mean machine too. For those out there who are interested in the new convertible touch screen laptops, this meets or exceeds expectations.


I’ve had the opportunity to do a side-by-side comparison with convertibles from other manufacturers and none match the quality of the way the Lenovo looks and feels. This Ultrabook comes with an, i5 processor, 4GB RAM and a 500GB drive.


Whether you are browsing online, sharing your display with co-workers, or even making a presentation, the Twist has got you covered.


  • Laptop Mode allows you to utilize this computer just like you would your normal laptop. Running Windows 8 it will run all of your normal desktop applications with the greatest of ease.
  • Stand Mode allows you to browse and watch your favorite movies, listen to your music, and the TouchScreen allows for the total Windows 8 experience. It’s your full multi-media entertainment system.
  • Tent Mode makes it simple to perform tasks like playing touch screen games to displaying a PowerPoint slideshow to a group of prospective clients.
  • Tablet Mode turns this laptop into a full functioning responsive TouchScreen tablet. The Lenovo ThinkPad Twist is all brought to you by Windows 8, the breakthrough operating system that has everyone talking.


Here’s the good news. If you want to walk in and pick yours up today, you’re in luck – cat-man-du has these right here in-stock at your local location and available for sale online or by phone. Here’s the full specs of the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist that we carry below and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to call your local computer “guru”.


Lenovo Notebook 3472HU
ThinkPad Twist S230U12.5inch

Core i5 3317U 4GB
500GB/7200 24GB SATA
Window8 64


ThinkPad S230u, 12.5″ W HD (1366 x 768) LED Backlight, Gorilla Glass, Low-light sensitive HD Webcam (w/oWWAN), Mocha Black, Twist, Intel HM 77, Intel HD Graphics 4000 Intel Core i5 3317U processor, Y-Cam HD 720p, N-FPR MB, 500 GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm, 4-1 Multi-Card Reader, 4GB Memory, 24 GB Micro Solid State Drive, Serial ATA3 with ExpressCache, ThinkPad a/b/g/n Wireless BT Combo (2×2 ABGN BlueTooth 4.0), Battery (LiPolymer 42.4Wh), Edge S230u, Windows 8 Pro 64 English

Lenovo Notebook 3472HU – ThinkPad Twist S230U12.5inch