Windows Search Is Broken And It’s Bing’s Fault

Windows 10 Search is broken - and it's Bing's fault

Microsoft is mucking around with Windows Search. It might be better someday, although it’s not like anyone was screaming for changes. But hoo boy, is it obvious that the B team is working on Windows these days! Because Windows Search has been horribly broken for the last few weeks, and the whole process of changing it, breaking it, fixing it, making it worse, has all been shrouded in secrecy as things get worse and worse. […] continued

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Rules For Computer And Online Safety 2020

Computer and online safety 2020 - only your vigilance will protect you!

These are the rules for computer and online safety in 2020. You can download a copy here.

Only your vigilance will protect you against bad guys. You will be safe if you are cautious. Stop and think before you click on links, before you call unfamiliar phone numbers, before you install programs, and before you fill in passwords. […] continued

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R.I.P. Windows 7

Windows 7 end of life - January 14, 2020

Windows 7 has passed on. It is no more. It has ceased to be. Windows 7 has expired and gone to meet its maker. It’s a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. It’s off the twig. It’s kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. […] continued

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The 2019 Bruceb News Year In Review

The 2019 Bruceb News year in review

(This will be the last Bruceb News article until I recover from an upcoming business conference trip to Hawaii. Happy holidays!)

I think I accomplished two goals in 2019: writing articles about privacy and security that were so terrifying that they kept you awake at night; and making those articles so dull that they helped you sleep. […] continued

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Grammar Are For Winners!

Grammar checking made easy with Word, Outlook, G Suite, and Grammarly

Need help with spelling and grammar? Of course you do!

You already get help with your spelling. Microsoft Word and Outlook automatically fix common errors on the fly as you type, and flag possible misspellings with the familiar wavy line. Your phone auto-corrects your errors, which of course works flawlessly.

Artificial intelligence now allows grammar to be checked just as easily as spelling – on the fly, with instant feedback. […] continued

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Windows 10 Has Ransomware Protection – Here’s Why It’s Not Turned On

Ransomware - want your data back?

Microsoft added built-in ransomware protection to Windows 10 two years ago. When you check, you’ll find it’s not turned on. This will seem strange. It should be a good thing to stop ransomware, right? Here’s why you’ve never heard of it and why you probably won’t turn it on.

It will help if you have some background about how ransomware works; then I’ll tell you about the difficult bits in the Windows ransomware protection that make it hard to manage for non-tech people. […] continued

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How To Set Up A New Windows 10 PC Without A Microsoft Account

Windows 10 - how to set up a new PC with a local account

There are good reasons to set up a new Windows 10 PC without a Microsoft account, even if you intend to link it to a Microsoft account eventually.

The bad news is that Microsoft is pushing its own agenda and using deception to hide the option of setting up a local account instead of a Microsoft account. […] continued

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Dark Patterns Are Evil – And They’re Everywhere

Dark patterns - deceptive opt in choices

I hate to interrupt the steady flow of happiness and joy in the news, but I want to call your attention to a small way that our civilization is degrading into a dystopian hell. Once I describe it, you’ll notice it everywhere.

The web is filled with dark patterns – deliberately confusing and deceptive choices, designed to trick us into signing up for junk newsletters, subscribing to unwanted services, spamming everyone in our address book, or giving up our privacy. […] continued

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How To Get Rid Of The “Microsoft Account Problem” Notification

"Microsoft account problem - we need to fix your Microsoft account" in Shared Experiences settings

If you get a notification that you have a “Microsoft account problem,” you don’t have a problem and you don’t have to fix anything. You haven’t been hacked and you don’t have a virus. Microsoft is testing your patience.


How to stop the notifications Windows 10 Shared experiences - turn off Nearby Sharing and Share Across Devices

Click on Start / Settings (the gear in the left column). […] continued

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Windows 10 Tip: Dress Up Your Desktop With A Theme

Windows themes - photos & art for your desktop

Microsoft has gorgeous collections of photos that you can use for free as your Windows wallpaper.  A typical theme rotates through ten or fifteen photos; when you get bored, it’s easy to switch to another theme with new pictures. I’ll tell you where to get the themes, and along the way, we’ll talk a little bit about the failure of the Microsoft Store. […] continued

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How To Stop Microsoft Teams From Starting Automatically

Microsoft Teams - how to prevent autostart

Last month Microsoft rolled out an update to some Office 365 business subscriptions that for the first time includes the app for Microsoft Teams. Some of you are seeing the Teams startup screen every time the computer starts.

If you don’t use Teams, the unwanted startup screen may make you think unkind thoughts, but let’s be realistic. […] continued

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Your Backup Program Is Not Backing Up OneDrive Files (But It’s Okay!)

OneDrive Files On Demand are not backed up

Backups are hard. I have a story to tell you about why your backup program is not backing up OneDrive files – but don’t panic! This is just a public service announcement that may help you someday if you understand what’s going on behind the scenes.

If you have files in OneDrive or OneDrive for Business, it means Microsoft stores your files in the cloud. […] continued

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Save Screenshots With Snip & Sketch

Windows 10 Snip & Sketch - the update you didn't think you needed

The latest update to Windows 10 version 1903 includes Snip & Sketch, an update to the venerable Snipping Tool that has been part of Windows since Vista in 2007. The new app makes me smile because it’s the quintessential Microsoft experience: it has unnecessary extra features that you won’t use; it has a duplicative name that is both longer and more confusing than the old program; and it doesn’t work as well as the original. […] continued

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How To Turn Off Spam Ads & Annoying Notifications In Windows 10 & Chrome

Windows 10 notification - adware from Chrome

This article is for anyone with spam ads or annoying notifications popping up from the lower right corner of your Windows desktop. If you don’t have this problem, file this away in case you need it later.

(Also see: How To Turn Off Unwanted Chrome Extensions)

Sleazy advertisers used to install “adware,” little programs to change your browser home page and pop up ads in the middle of the screen. […] continued

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OneDrive For Business Has Issues

OneDrive for Business - not quite the right solution

I wanted to love OneDrive for Business.

And it should have been a great relationship! There are lots of reasons to love OneDrive for Business. Although it had problems in the past, now the Windows app is stable and fast; I’ve got lots of storage space included with my Office 365 subscription; and OneDrive for Business includes features at no charge that cost extra from other services. […] continued

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