• Check Out These Simple Improvements From the Windows 10 Fall Update

    October 2018 brought us the Windows 10 fall update. You might be putting off the download for fear of the unknown. For those who aren't fans of technological upgrades, it's best to know the facts before hitting install.

    If that resonated with you, you're in the right place, we've laid out the critical features here in this blog post. That way you can re-boot your laptop with complete confidence. Let's dive in!

    The 'Your Phone' App

    Windows 10 now offers an app called 'Your Phone.' This makes the smartphone integration feature way easier to set up. For example, desktop users can now utilize a shortcut to access the app.

    Plus, if your smartphone runs on Android 7.0 software (or any of the newer versions), you can use the 'Your Phone' app to text people from your PC- how neat is that?!

    Using the same feature, you can also directly access photos saved on your phone via your desktop.

    If you're an iPhone user, unfortunately, you can't access as many features. Apple has imposed restrictions on their devices which don't allow users to access these kinds of benefits.

    However, you'll be pleased to hear both iPhone and Android phones can access the 'Continue on PC' feature. From your smartphones share sheet, you can send a link from your phone to your computer.

    This allows you to access whatever you were looking at on your phone, to your desktop. Although this feature previously existed on Windows 10, the 'Your Phone app' enables you to access these perks quicker.

    Clipboard History and Sync

    We love the new clipboard features. A shortcut is now available. All you have to do is hold down the Windows key and the letter V simultaneously to access your clipboard.

    Plus, you can synchronize your clipboard's history for all your devices (should you choose to). To access this feature, click the icon on the clipboard popup.

    However, don't fret about synching sensitive data. You can stop Windows handling your passwords, credit card details, bank details, etc. via the same popup.

    SwiftKey

    If you're an Android user, you probably already know that SwiftKey is available on your smartphone. If you're a fan of this feature, you'll be pleased to hear this is now part of Windows 10.

    However, you can only access SwiftKey if you're using the following languages:

    • English (United States)
    • English (United Kingdom)
    • French (France)
    • German (Germany)
    • Italian (Italy)
    • Spanish (Spain)
    • Portuguese (Brazil)
    • Russian

    If you haven't heard of SwiftKey before, this software allows for more accurate autocorrections.

    It also helps predict the next word you'll need when you're typing. It does this by tracing and remembering the style and tone of your writing patterns. When utilized correctly, it can save you a lot of time!

    Font Installation

    Previous Windows software only allowed administrators to install fonts. From there, these typographies were established across the entirety of your network.

    Whereas, this fall update permits everyone to install fonts. Head over to the file explorer and right-click the font file you like the look of. Then hit "Install."

    From here you can choose to install it for either just your user account or for all the users registered on the system.

    However, if you want to make use of the latter, you'll need access to administrator privileges.

    Peruse Previews Using the Start Menu

    The Cortana search feature now enables you to sift through previews. These pop up as you begin typing what you're looking for. The preview pane appears and provides more info about whatever Windows has populated.

    For example the source of information, a small excerpt of what this piece has to offer, a relevant picture, etc.

    Better Screenshot Facilities Complete With Annotation Tools

    This fresh update offers a useful clipping tool, which comes in handy for taking screenshots of specific sections of your screen.

    After you've caught your screenshot, the Snip & Sketch tool allows you to edit and annotate it with ease. You can draw directly onto the snap, add text, insert arrows, and highlight elements you want to draw attention to.

    To access the clipping tool, press and hold the following keys simultaneously: Windows+Shift+S. This should prompt the updated snipping tool to spring open.

    Alternatively, you can find via settings. Hit 'Ease of Access' followed by 'Keyboard.' This causes the snip and sketch tool to appear automatically when you hit the 'Print Screen' key.

    Straightforward HDR Setup

    You can now enjoy new and improved 'Windows HD Color.' Access this under your settings by hitting 'System,' and then 'Display.'

    From there you'll find out whether your device is compatible alongside the high dynamic range and wide color gamut content.

    If your hardware is compatible, you can configure the updated HDR features onto your device via this same page.

    Hidden Window Borders

    The fall update prioritizes gray borders instead of colored ones. These fade smoothly into the shadows of the windows, allowing for a more sophisticated aesthetic.

    However, if you prefer a splash of color in your desktop design, you're able to keep the colored border windows. It's entirely down to your personal preference- so don't let that put you off installing the update!

    Was This Info on the Windows 10 Fall Update Useful?

    If you found this article on the Windows 10 Fall update interesting, then we're confident you'll love the other pieces published on our blog. Feel free to explore it!

    If you have any questions either about this blog post or the content on our site more generally, please feel free to drop us a line. We'll reply as soon as we possibly can. Speak soon!

  • Make Troubleshooting Easy With Our Black Screen Error Guide

    As devices have gotten sleeker, smaller, and more powerful, fewer users feel empowered to fix their own devices. However, most operating systems offer tools to ensure that they can be fixed by an amateur but savvy users. If you’re dealing with a Windows 10 black screen, it may not be as dire as it feels.

    Here are five ways you can fix your black or blank screen on your own.

    1. Are You Installing Something?

    If you’re working on installing software or if you have automatic installations set on your machine, a black screen is a sign that everything is going right. When you see your black screen, don’t panic.

    Depending on the hardware you have, how old it is, or how much data you’ve got stored on it, your screen could be black for a while. Some installations take several hours.

    If your machine is running, wait for awhile while it runs. Some machines make sounds that let you know that they’re running, reading, and writing data. Listen closely if you suspect that installation is in progress.

    Sometimes, installations get stuck. Not every process goes off without a hitch and if it’s been several hours since you’ve been able to see something on your screen, it’s probably stuck. Most software and operating systems want to keep their users informed, so it’s rare that a screen stays blank for long.

    In the case that your machine is stuck, consider shutting down your device altogether. Holding down the power button is the standard way to force a device to shut down. After this is done, unplug your power or remove your battery for a few minutes.

    This resets your machine and ensures that your next attempt at installation goes smoothly. Often this is all that it takes and your machine returns to normal in a few minutes.

    If your device gets stuck again, you’ll have to use a bootable USB device to ensure that your device updates properly

    2. Check Your Video Connection

    If you’re using a desktop computer, your screen connection must be secure to ensure smooth interactions with your PC. A black screen from a frayed connection looks good one day then suddenly doesn’t. If you’re running a new machine that’s given you no trouble at all, check that your wires are properly connected and that nothing is fraying or getting cut off.

    Start with the power outlet your display is connected to. Try plugging into a different outlet. Adjust the power cable where it connects to your monitor. Sometimes a loose cable makes your display seem more faulty than it is.

    Some PCs have different video outputs. Video drivers change and swap out at a moment’s notice, sometimes by user error, sometimes by machine error. Try another video output or display port with another cable before sending your machine to the repair shop.

    For technically inclined users who install their own graphics cards, video connections can switch back and forth. The integrated video processor and the graphics card bump heads often. If this is your case, you’ll have to choose one as your primary method of displaying data.

    Check that your computer detects your display at all. Hold the Window key and tap the P key twice. Then hit enter. Try this a few times to get through the different displays connected to your computer.

    3. Wake Up Your Display

    While problems with the hardware and the display occur from time to time, sometimes Windows 10 just doesn’t detect your display. If this is the case, you need to work on waking it up.

    Sometimes, hitting a few keys or wiggling your mouse is enough to get the display up and running. If that doesn’t work, try a key combination to wake it up. Hit the Windows key + Ctrl + Shift + B together in order to wake it up.

    If this doesn’t work, it doesn’t hurt to hit it a few times. Try and wait patiently. If you don’t get a response in a minute or so, move on to another method.

    4. Disconnect Extra Devices

    The devices connected to your computer may be the culprit of what’s affecting your screen. Disconnecting all the extra peripherals is the perfect place to start.

    Disconnect everything and try getting your screen to light up. If this works, it’s time for you to play detective.

    Start reconnecting each of your peripheral devices one at a time. Use them for a minute or two before connecting another one.

    If you notice that your device goes black again, disconnect that device and restart your computer. Try reconnecting once your computer is back up and running again. If the problem persists, reach out the manufacturer of the device.

    It’s unlikely you’re the first person to have this problem, so see what solutions they’ve come up with.

    5. Start Your Computer in Safe Mode

    If you’re dealing with an intermittent black screen, there are some solutions to help solve it. Booting up a computer in safe mode helps to start your computer without any of the problems it otherwise has. To boot in safe mood, you need to restart or shut down your computer first.

    Start your PC up and wait for the sign-in screen. Hold down the Shift key and then click the power button that appears on the bottom right of your screen. Select “Restart".

    You’ll get an advanced startup menu. Choose “Advanced Options" and then “Startup Settings". Then click the restart button.

    Once you get to the Startup Settings screen, press 5 to choose Safe Mode with Networking.

    If you find problems persist, call tech support.

    A Black Screen Isn’t A Death Sentence

    While your black screen is going to take the wind out of your sails, it’s a problem solved by amateur users all the time. Follow our gips before opening your wallet for tech support or major repairs.

    If you’re dealing with a damaged laptop screen, follow our guide for more tips.