Windows Calculator Getting an Upgrade

Yesterday, Microsoft began the Windows 10 build 19546 for the Fast ring Insiders. This update will be correcting a handful of known issues, such as Task View and Outlook Search problems. But they’re also launching a beta version of an Indexer Diagnostics app. This app was designed, “to help enhance your understanding of the capabilities of search, as well as increase the troubleshooting ability and support for general Windows Search issues,” according to the Windows Blog. The big deal in this Windows 10 build, though, is the upgraded calculator.

Back in August of 2019, Windows updated their calculator by giving it the capability of allowing it to switch it to “Always on Top” mode. Now, build 19546 is showing Fast ring Insiders the new graphing feature.

“Today, we’re updating Windows Calculator for Insiders with a preview of our new graphing mode. Adding support for graphing is one of our top feature requests in Feedback Hub, and we’re excited to bring this feature to our users. Graphing capabilities are also essential for students who are beginning to explore linear algebra. With this feature, we hope to empower students to learn mathematics by improving their conceptual understanding and attitudes towards math.”

Brandon LeBlanc, Windows Insider Program

Note for Windows Insiders: The preview may carry bugs that can affect your device. To become part of the Windows Insiders Program and try out upcoming features before anyone else, sign up here!

If you are needing help with Microsoft issues, please give us a call at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities.  This blog post is brought to you from our staff at the Plano Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Plano, TX please call the local office at (469) 299-9005.

Microsoft Released Their New Edge Browser

What’s another browser, right?

Windows 10 normally comes with Edge. However, this new re-vamped, chromium-based Edge browser comes with a plethora of features and will replace the old Edge if downloaded now. In a few months, the new Windows 10 update will automatically replace it.

This particular browser includes enhanced security features, such as the Microsoft Defender SmartScreen. This will protect your browsing from any malicious schemes. It also features Tracking Prevention and InPrivate mode that give you options that you prefer. It comes in three choices: basic, balanced and strict.

There are also upcoming features that will integrate with Office 365.

To install it, head over to the Microsoft website and click Download for Windows 10. You can also download it if you still have Windows 7, 8, or 8.1.

The new Edge Browser is officially available on multiple versions, like macOS and Windows, along with mobile availability for iOS and Android.

For help with Windows 10 issues, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you from our staff at the Mesa Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Mesa, AZ please call the local office at (480) 240-2950.

CISA Urges Mozilla Users to Update Browser

The status shows critical

If you are a Mozilla user, be sure to make sure your browser is updated. The United States Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a warning post on January 8th. This warning is not to be taken lightly. On their website, they state the following:

Mozilla has released security updates to address a vulnerability in Firefox, Firefox ESR, and Thunderbird. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to take control of an affected system. This vulnerability was detected in exploits in the wild.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages users and administrators to review the Mozilla Security Advisories for Firefox 72.0.1 and Firefox ESR 68.4.1 and Thunderbird 68.4.1 and apply the necessary updates.

Mozilla knows about this recent attack, and is also encouraging users to update their browser, claiming the impact to be critical. According to Mozilla, critical means, ” Vulnerability can be used to run attacker code and install software, requiring no user interaction beyond normal browsing.”

On a Mac, simply launch Firefox and click About, then Firefox and click Restart to update Firefox.

On a PC, launch Firefox and go under either Options, then Firefox Updates.

For help updating, restoring or dealing with computer issues, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you from our staff at the Denver Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Denver, CO please call or text the local office at (720) 441-6460.

Windows 7 Support Ends Tomorrow

For those Microsoft users who still use Windows 7, tomorrow marks the end of support. It was announced on their blog back in March of 2019, and in an updated post, they stated this:

Microsoft made a commitment to provide 10 years of product support for Windows 7 when it was released on October 22, 2009. When this 10-year period ends, Microsoft will discontinue Windows 7 support so that we can focus our investment on supporting newer technologies and great new experiences. The specific end of support day for Windows 7 will be January 14, 2020. After that, technical assistance and software updates from Windows Update that help protect your PC will no longer be available for the product.

Source: Windows Blog

If you’re running an activated copy of Windows 7 or newer, and need Windows 10, head over to the Download Windows 10 website. From there, you’ll click on the Download tool now and Run, shown under the Create Windows 10 installation media header. Simply follow the directions. Once the upgrade is finished, you can go to Settings Update & Security – Activation. You should be able to see a Windows 10 digital license.

Microsoft urges users that in order to have the safest experience, to keep your computer updated to the newest operating system.

For help with any Windows 10 issues, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you from our staff at the Denver Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Denver, CO please call or text the local office at (720) 441-6460.

Personalize Your Windows Performance

Better Battery or Execution?

AMD and Intel users that use build 1709 – or newer – Windows 10 have quite the handy performance feature included in their system. And it can be customized to their liking.

This Windows power slider allows users to barter performance for better battery life, or vice versa. To access the slider, simply click on the battery icon on the lower right hand side of the screen. From there, you can easily slide the bar back and forth between best battery life and best performance.

According to Microsoft Docs, users can decide from four available modes:

Battery Saver: Helps conserve power, and prolong battery life, when the system is not connected to a power source. When battery saver is on, some Windows features are disabled, throttled, or behave differently. Screen brightness is also reduced. Battery Saver is only available on DC. To learn more, see Battery Saver.

Better Battery: Delivers longer battery life than the default settings on previous versions of Windows. Available on both AC and DC. In some cases, users will see this mode labeled Recommended, rather than Better Battery, in their slider UI.

Better Performance: Default slider mode that slightly favors performance over battery life and is appropriate for users who want to tradeoff power for better performance of their apps. Available on both AC and DC.

Best Performance: Favors performance over power and is targeted at users who want to tradeoff power for performance and responsiveness. Available on both AC and DC.

If you have any questions regarding Windows 10, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you from our staff at the Phoenix Computer Repair Service. If you need computer repair in Phoenix, AZ please call our local office at (602) 445-9862.

How to Control Background Apps

In Windows 10, certain apps have the ability to run in the background so you don’t have to worry about them. This feature was put into place by Microsoft to allow notifications and app updates to users. However, there’s a large downside: battery consumption and possible data drainage. Thankfully, there is a way to control your background apps, if you prefer.

Here’s how to get there:
  1. Go to Settings
  2. Click on Privacy
  3. Scroll down and click on Background apps

From here you can choose to turn on or off your option to allowing apps run in the background. Or, you can choose which apps you would rather not run in the background. This works well for those who need certain apps continuing to function.

If you have any Windows 10 issues, please give us a call at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities.  This blog post is brought to you from our staff at the Plano Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Plano, TX please call the local office at (469) 299-9005.

New Features coming in Spring 2020 Update

Windows 10 2004, also known as 20H1, is heavily in the works and being tested within the Windows Insiders Program. The November update was a small update, but this one is planning on including a handful of improvements and features.

The name ‘2004’ was made for this update, instead of 2003. Brandon LeBlanc, the Windows Blog manager wrote, “Eagle-eyed Windows Insiders will notice that that as of this build, 20H1 officially shows it is version 2004. We have chosen to use 2004 as the version to eliminate confusion with any past product names (such as Windows Server 2003).”

Cortana is getting an upgrade! With both a light and a dark mode, you can also communicate with the digital assistant. There are operational improvements all around as well.

The Optional Update feature will be a thing. Next Spring, new drivers will only give you an optional update, and be under the ‘View Optional Updates’ on the Windows Update tab.

In the Optional Features, you will be able to see any information on all installations, along with selecting/cancelling multiple ones.

For inquiries with Windows 10 updates, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you from our staff at the Frisco Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Frisco, TX please call or text the local office at (469) 299-9005.

Troubleshooting OneDrive Sync Issues on Windows 10

OneDrive is Windows 10’s ultimate cloud storage with an abundance of features. Storing your files, documents and other personal information has never been easier and safer.

But with some of the best systems also comes flaws. Sometimes, OneDrive runs into syncing issues – which in turn causes problems for users. Here are a few ways to try to fix it:

  1. Make sure that your OS is updated
  2. Double check your internet connection
  3. Free up OneDrive Space
  4. Reinstall the app

If all else fails, check your OneDrive account access. If you cannot login, contact support to address the concerns. You can sign up for OneDrive for free with up to 5 GB of storage.

For inquiries with Windows 10 issues, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you from our staff at the Frisco Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Frisco, TX please call or text the local office at (469) 299-9005.

Hard Disk Operational Overview

As an illustration, I’ll describe here in words how the various components in the disk interoperate when they receive a request for data. Hopefully this will provide some context for the descriptions of the components that follow in later sections.

A hard disk uses round, flat disks called platters, coated on both sides with a special media material designed to store information in the form of magnetic patterns. The platters are mounted by cutting a hole in the center and stacking them onto a spindle. The platters rotate at high speed, driven by a special spindle motor connected to the spindle. Special electromagnetic read/write devices called heads are mounted onto sliders and used to either record information onto the disk or read information from it. The sliders are mounted onto arms, all of which are mechanically connected into a single assembly and positioned over the surface of the disk by a device called an actuator. A logic board controls the activity of the other components and communicates with the rest of the PC.

Each surface of each platter on the disk can hold tens of billions of individual bits of data. These are organized into larger “chunks” for convenience, and to allow for easier and faster access to information. Each platter has two heads, one on the top of the platter and one on the bottom, so a hard disk with three platters (normally) has six surfaces and six total heads. Each platter has its information recorded in concentric circles called tracks. Each track is further broken down into smaller pieces called sectors, each of which holds 512 bytes of information.

The entire hard disk must be manufactured to a high degree of precision due to the extreme miniaturization of the components, and the importance of the hard disk’s role in the PC. The main part of the disk is isolated from outside air to ensure that no contaminants get onto the platters, which could cause damage to the read/write heads.

Exploded view of a hard drive
Exploded line drawing of a modern hard disk, showing the major components.
Though the specifics vary greatly between different designs, the basic
components you see above are typical of almost all PC hard disks.
Original image © Seagate Technology Image used with permission.

Here’s an example case showing in brief what happens in the disk each time a piece of information needs to be read from it. This is a highly simplified example because it ignores factors such as disk caching, error correction, and many of the other special techniques that systems use today to increase performance and reliability. For example, sectors are not read individually on most PCs; they are grouped together into continuous chunks called clusters. A typical job, such as loading a file into a spreadsheet program, can involve thousands or even millions of individual disk accesses, and loading a 20 MB file 512 bytes at a time would be rather inefficient:

  1. The first step in accessing the disk is to figure out where on the disk to look for the needed information. Between them, the application, operating system, system BIOS and possibly any special driver software for the disk, do the job of determining what part of the disk to read.
  2. The location on the disk undergoes one or more translation steps until a final request can be made to the drive with an address expressed in terms of its geometry. The geometry of the drive is normally expressed in terms of the cylinder, head and sector that the system wants the drive to read. (A cylinder is equivalent to a track for addressing purposes). A request is sent to the drive over the disk drive interface giving it this address and asking for the sector to be read.
  3. The hard disk’s control program first checks to see if the information requested is already in the hard disk’s own internal buffer (or cache). It if is then the controller supplies the information immediately, without needing to look on the surface of the disk itself.
  4. In most cases the disk drive is already spinning. If it isn’t (because power management has instructed the disk to “spin down” to save energy) then the drive’s controller board will activate the spindle motor to “spin up” the drive to operating speed.
  5. The controller board interprets the address it received for the read, and performs any necessary additional translation steps that take into account the particular characteristics of the drive. The hard disk’s logic program then looks at the final number of the cylinder requested. The cylinder number tells the disk which track to look at on the surface of the disk. The board instructs the actuator to move the read/write heads to the appropriate track.
  6. When the heads are in the correct position, the controller activates the head specified in the correct read location. The head begins reading the track looking for the sector that was asked for. It waits for the disk to rotate the correct sector number under itself, and then reads the contents of the sector.
  7. The controller board coordinates the flow of information from the hard disk into a temporary storage area (buffer). It then sends the information over the hard disk interface, usually to the system memory, satisfying the system’s request for data.

The PC Guide
Site Version: 2.2.0 – Version Date: April 17, 2001
© Copyright 1997-2004 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.

This is an archive of Charles M. Kozierok’s PCGuide (pcguide.com) which disappeared from the internet in 2018. We wanted to preserve Charles M. Kozierok’s knowledge about computers and are permanently hosting a selection of important pages from PCGuide.

How to get Windows 10 after 7 Support Ends

Coming January 14th, 2020, Windows 7’s support officially ends – which means that if you’re still desiring those security updates or over various updates that allow your PC to work its best, you’ll want to upgrade to Windows 10.

There are a few options that you may have to get Windows 10, including:

You can still forget the 2020 deadline and continue using Windows 7. It’ll continue to be functional. However, any issues regarding 7 will be yours to deal with. Using the free upgrade can possibly cause more complications, including Microsoft determining your product key update eligibility.

Just a heads up, if you don’t activate Windows 10, you’ll most likely see watermarks on your desktop, requesting activation.

For inquiries with computer issues, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you from our staff at the Frisco Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Frisco, TX please call or text the local office at (469) 299-9005.