IE10 More Feedback

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Windows-10-Preview-Start-Menu-Look-and-Features-460698-2When Microsoft announced the preview of Windows 10, it emphasised the “opportunity to influence product development decisions through the new Windows Feedback app directly within the product”.

Users can not only give feedback, but also see — and vote on — the feedback of others, giving all of us a chance to assess what users think of Microsoft’s latest offering.

Microsoft is trying to remould Windows away from its radical Windows 8 remake into something more familiar to Windows 7 users. Live tiles used to live only in a separate Start screen but have now been brought into the desktop, in a panel alongside a revived Start menu, and the touch-friendly Store apps now launch in desktop windows.

But if live tiles are now in the desktop, should they have more of a role? “It would be great if app tiles could also/alternatively be pinned to the desktop (like Windows 7 widgets)” is one popular suggestion.

And why is the new panel crippled, compared with the Windows 8 Start screen? “Let us organise our live tiles on the Start menu the way you could on the Start screen – with different headings/sections” is supported by 84 users so far.

The way Store apps behave is another tricky area. Currently they open by default in maximised windows, but “modern apps should not all start in full screen in desktop view, some apps (eg, Calculator) should default to a smaller size,” say 30 users. Note, though, that Microsoft seems to have a fix for this already, at least for new apps, since the feedback app is itself a Store app and does not open maximised.

And what about Store apps that duplicate desktop apps? “Only one calculator, having two creates unnecessary confusion,” says a comment, while others miss having a choice of web browsers. “How do I get back Modern IE? Desktop IE feels archaic to me.”

Search is prominent in Windows 10, but “the search button isn’t entirely necessary on desktop, as you can access the same functionality from the start menu”, say several users. Could it be that the second search button is a placeholder for Cortana, the automated personal assistant in Windows Phone?

Nor is everyone happy being force-fed Bing. “Allow other search providers such as Google or Yahoo,” say 62 users. What about the way Windows search mixes web and local results? 361 users agree that mixing Windows and web search is a “terrible idea … if I want to search the web I will start IE.”

The way Microsoft bakes its own cloud services into Windows causes some discontent. “Let us be able to disable and uninstall OneDrive” say 46 users. Another tried to switch from Dropbox but found OneDrive buggy. “If I am to trust OneDrive, you need to fix bugs like this” is the conclusion.

Internet Explorer (IE) will receive a major update before Windows 10 is released, but it still comes in for a beating. “IE is terrible, give us the option on first login of which default browser to install and use,” says one, while another opines “Microsoft, please make a deal with Google and use its browser … [IE] is still as slow as a fart in a frying pan.”

Another user asks why IE still has “Automatically detect settings” on by default, ensuring a slow and usually fruitless search for proxy settings every time it starts.

Then there are the optimists. “Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint should be free and built into Windows 10, this would tempt people away from Chromebooks and Mac,” says a user, supported by 10 others.

Windows 10 feedback tool

Finally, what of the feedback process itself? “If Microsoft would like its customers to do free software testing, could they at least provide a proper bug-tracking tool with severity level and current status,” observes a user, while another says simply, “Enough! This feedback app is doing my head in.”


Xpocalypse Now?


Windows XP

Windows XP (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s past April 10th 2014 so I’m assuming you have all upgraded your PCs from XP to, well practically anything really!


OK, well you’re not the only one, leaving aside the corporations willing to £150 per machine per year for continued XP support (and probably only critical updates) if you still have XP what should you do now.

Emergency Check List
1. Start thinking about an upgrade, the longer you leave it, the more painful the upgrade will be…
2. Check to see your you are up to date on the pre-April updates.
3. Stop using Internet Explorer now, it’s linked to the Windows system and will be vulnerable followed by more vulnerable in the coming months. Choose Firefox or Chrome or Opera as your main browser. Install it today!
4. Stop using Office 2003 if you have it switch to 2007

If you have simple Word Processing and Spreadsheet needs, consider the MS email system comes with free cut down online copies of their Word and Excel applications.

5. Stop using Outlook Express – you should have done that years ago anyway. Invest in a copy of Outlook 2007 or later.

Update everything else, Java, Flash etc but check Java first if you don’t need it, uninstall it it’s a security vulnerability.

Basically, if you elect to stay with XP you are in the warzone, depending on what the hackers and malware exporters do next, you will either have no problem at one end of the spectrum or be the source of viruses and malware to thousands of other machines at the other.

No really knows the full extent of the problem, but the advice from the experts is that Microsoft have given you no real choice but to dump XP in favour of something else. I’ll talk about the options in another post soon.

How safe is your data?

English: I took this picture.
Is your data backed-up, what are your options?

A few months ago I did a repair job on a nice little custom build rig which while getting on a bit was still perfectly good for browsing and office productivity. The machine was badly infected and combined with less than helpful install of Vista lead me to opt for a fresh install of Windows 7. While copying over all the data for I noticed a lot of image files coming down the USB cable. Having developed a nose for these things over the years I checked with the client on delivery of the now speedy rig what as to what was stored on the PC. It turned out to be an extensive collection of pictures of the client’s children. I asked about back-ups and got the reply that it was something she was planning to get around to, time permitting.

Fast forward six months and I was asked to spec for a laptop for same client. After a quick whizz round Misco and Ebuyer I was able to come up with a nice desktop replacement. I happened to ask about backing up the images and was told it still hadn’t happened but obviously it was something they needed to do. I left it at that.

My PC Bloke crystal ball (Capacitive screen and powered by Android, of course) showed a scene in about a year where the PC HDD failed. If it proved to be a problem with the MBR or Windows no problem, but if the drive completely failed then not only would it be beyond my talents but the cost of professional drive recovery would be a painful lesson in the benefits of keeping back-ups.

So why all the fuss? In simple terms, just how important is your data? Check your computer right now and add up all the following:

  • Word files
  • Excell files
  • PDFs
  • Images files (.jpg .png .tif .jpeg)
  • Video files (.avi .mp4 .mov . flv)
  • Sound files (.mp3 .ogg .3gp)

The chances are there are more of these than you realised. You could well have many gigabytes of information stored on your computer.

Now what would happen if your PC decided to die tomorrow?

In my home, all the files are backed up to Network Attached Storage which can be reached from any and all machines in the house, including the Android phones. Key files are also backed to MS Skydrive and Dropbox and some are saved to USB keys and DVDs. One DVD of very important image and document data lives at the home of a friend living a few miles away. While this kind of back up is probably PC Bloke more than the average user. But I have image files that only exist electronically and other data which if I lost would not be recoverable, hence the borderline paranoia and when it comes to not losing your data paranoia if probably no bad thing. But there are some simple precautions you can take to ensure your data is safe.

Once data is corrupt it’s lost unless you plan to pay literally hundreds of pounds to a professional data recovery company and even then they may fail. Even if you back-up your data, media can fail and let you down. Safe options may seen onerous and even over the top but once that data is gone the chances are you have lost it forever.  So how much time and money is caring for your data worth to you, that’s the first question you need to ask with that information you can plan your back up strategy.

In the next instalment I’ll walk you through the storage options, from CDs to your own home server.

The PC Bloke