Tech Tip – Adjust The Sound For Specific Apps

If you would like to have better control of the volume levels of individual apps that you have open on Windows 10 this can easily be done via the settings (Sound) section and the hidden ‘Volume Mixer’. Here’s how:

Using (Sound) Settings

– Click on the Start button and select ‘Settings’ or type settings into the search field next to the Start button.

– Select ‘Settings’ > ‘System’ > ‘Sound’.

– Scroll down (right-hand pane) to ‘Advanced sound options’ and select ‘App Volume and device preferences. Here you can adjust the master volume and the volume of the apps that you have open and systems sounds as a percentage of the master volume.

Using The volume Mixer

– Right-mouse click over the sound symbol (speaker) on the taskbar.

– Select ‘Open Volume Mixer’. Any apps that are open and are making a sound will be visible in the volume mixer.

– Slide the volume sliders to adjust the volume output, or you can choose to mute apps completely.

Tech Tip – Open All Tabs At Once

If you’re using Microsoft’s Edge browser, a handy organising feature means that you can easily get a full, instant view of every window you have open and quickly tab between them. Here’s how:

– Press Alt + Tab.

– Holding down Alt, click Tab to move between the windows and to select the one you want.

– To configure you’re the settings or turn off the feature, go to Settings > System > Multitasking, and see the dropdown menu for options of what Alt + Tab can do.

Tech Tip – Organising Files Using ‘Libraries’

If you would like a quick and easy way to bring all relevant files from different drives into one virtual folder that you can search at one time, use the Windows 10 ‘Libraries’ feature. Here’s how:

– Go to/open File Explorer.

– If ‘Libraries’ isn’t listed e.g., under ‘This PC’, right mouse click in the navigation pane and click ‘Show Libraries’.

– To create your own library, double click on ‘Libraries’ and right mouse click > New > Library. There are also four default libraries that are already in user account.

– Click on the new Library folder you’ve created and, top left, click on the ‘Manage Library’ folder icon.

– You can then click on the ‘Add’ and ‘Remove’ buttons to organise your virtual Libraries.

Tech Tip – Continuing Where You Left Off With Edge

If you would like to preserve all your browser tabs and reopen them the next time you restart Microsoft Edge e.g. if you’ve had to restart your machine while browsing, here’s how:

– Open Edge, click on the 3 dots (top right) and select ‘Settings’.

– Click “On startup” in the sidebar.

– Select “Continue where you left off.”

– Close the “Settings” tab. The next time Edge is closed and restarted your tabs will be where you left them.

– To always open the same pages every time you open Edge, go to “Settings, “On startup”, and choose “Open a specific page or pages”.  From here you can choose which page will be displayed whenever you open Edge.

Tech Tip – Restoring Previous Versions Using File History

If you’d like to restore a previous version of a file in Windows 10 you can do this using File History.  Here’s how:

Firstly, to enable File History:

-Go to ‘Settings’ and select ‘Update & Security’ and in the left-hand-side menu, click on ‘Backup’.

-Under ‘Add a Drive’, if no dive is listed you will need to add a drive option e.g., external storage connected to a USB port.

-Select that drive and the ‘Automatically back up my files’.  This will enable File History and will toggle to ‘On’. This can be toggled to ‘off’ when not required.

-The ‘More Options’ link below the toggle/slider allows you to select when you want your back-ups to occur, which folders you’d like to back up and it allows you to select backup to a different drive.

To Restore old versions:

– Restoring previous versions of files can now happen by opening File Explorer, finding file or folder you wish to restore, right-clicking on the file or folder, then selecting the Restore previous versions option.

Previous versions will be displayed in a list. Select the version to restore, select the Open button at the bottom or to restore it, select Restore.

Tech Tip – PDFs From Almost Anything

PDFs are really useful files for sharing and printing and one good thing about Windows 10 is that it enables you to make a pdf out of almost anything.  Here’s how:

– From any Windows 10 app, use the Print command.

– In the Print dialogue box, select Microsoft Print to PDF as the destination printer. 

– Adjust the other option to suit e.g., orientation, virtual page size.

– Select Print, specify the name and location of the final document and then click Start to create the pdf.

Tech Tip – Colour Filters

If you’re having trouble seeing what’s on the screen, Windows 10 allows you to apply a colour filter which changes the screen’s colour palette and can help you distinguish between things that differ only by colour. Here’s how to use it:

– Select Start  > Settings  > Ease of Access > Color filters.

– Switch on the toggle under Turn on colour filters.

– Select a colour filter from the menu. Try each filter to see which one suits you best.

– To get to colour filter settings in previous versions of Windows 10, select Start  > Settings  > Ease of Access > Color & high contrast.

Tech Tip – Steps Recorder

If you would like a fast and easy way to describe to someone else (with pictures and steps) how you do something on your Windows 10 computer, the ‘Steps Recorder’ will record what you do and produce a file or slideshow showing those steps.

To record your steps:

– Go to the start menu and type in ‘Steps Recorder’.

– Click on the Steps Recorder App.

– Click the start button and carry out the steps you would like to demonstrate.

– Click on the stop button at the end.  The Steps Recorder will produce a document of your steps showing screenshots.

– You can then review the recorded steps as a file or as a slideshow.

– Save the steps as a .zip file. 

Tech Tip – Optimising Storage

You can make sure that you are making the best use of the space on your computer by using the Storage Sense feature in Windows 10.  Here’s how:

When enabled, Storage Sense will automatically work in the background when your PC is getting low on space to free-up space by ridding your system of unwanted, unused files and content in e.g., the temporary files folder, recycle bin, and the download folder.  To put Storage Sense to work for you:

– Go to Settings.

– Select “System” and “Storage”.

– Set the toggle to “On”.

– To clean up unused files now, rather than when space is running low, click on the “Configure Storage Sense or run it now” link.

Microsoft’s New Password Manager Works Across Multiple Devices and Browsers

Microsoft has announced that its new Authenticator App will also work as a password manager which will allow passwords to be synced across desktop and mobile devices (iOS and Android) as well as Edge and Google Chrome browsers.

Free Authenticator

The free Microsoft Authenticator app is currently only available as a public preview version in Microsoft accounts (MSA) but not for Azure AD-based work or school accounts. Users will also need to enable Authenticator as the default autofill by going to the settings of a device (iOS or Android).

Security and Convenience

The Authenticator app is designed to allow users to autofill strong passwords without having to remember them, thereby improving security, and to sync passwords across devices to allow users the convenience of seamlessly auto-filling passwords as they move across devices.  These passwords are synced using Microsoft account (outlook.com, hotmail.com, live.com, etc.), which means that they are also available on the user’s desktop with Microsoft Edge and the new Google Chrome extension.

Rumours

Back in January, prior to the pandemic, there were rumours that Microsoft was planning to launch a new consumer/home-focused edition of Office 365 in the spring called “Life” and that this edition was to include a full password manager. The pandemic appears to have put this idea on hold.

Changed Password Policy

Back in April last year, Microsoft indicated that it was moving away from policies that enforced periodic password changes on users of Windows systems following scientific research which called into question the value of many long-standing password-security practices and highlighted better alternatives e.g., enforcing banned-password lists (like Azure AD password protection) and multi-factor authentication.

Password Managers

Even though the Microsoft Authenticator works as a password manager, there are, of course, other password managers available many of which are already being used by businesses and consumers.  These include Keeper (good for cross-platform uses), LastPass, Dashlane, and LogMeOnce.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Most businesses know that strong passwords and multi-factor authentication are important to help maintain security but that constantly having to update passwords to strong versions that aren’t easy to remember can be annoying, disruptive and can waste time at important moments. Also, using multiple devices can mean that a password change on one where there is no syncing means problems logging in and/or having to change the login again on another device. Having a tool like the free Microsoft Authenticator app’s built-in, cross-platform password manager that syncs across devices could therefore offer considerable convenience as well as the obvious security benefits to businesses although it appears that it is not fully available yet. Although there are many good password managers available, it should be remembered that the general move in authentication is towards biometrics e.g., fingerprints and that as this is introduced for more products and services it will provide an even safer and more convenient way of managing login security going forward.