Disable, Reveal, Summarize… and Turn it Off!

By Bill Scobie

By now, you might have an extra computer or laptop lying around the house. Put it to use as your guests’ or grandkids’ computer so you don’t have to worry about changes made to your computer behind your back. It will lessen your stress, as will turning on the guest network feature in your Wi-Fi router, if you have that capability.

Use the Windows Task manager in Windows 10 to disable programs that start up automatically from slowing down the boot-up process. Right-click on the Task Bar along the bottom of the screen, then select Task Manager. When the Task Manager opens, you might have to click on More Details in the lower left. Then click on the tab across the top, labeled Startup. Here you can disable things that automatically load while Windows starts up. Things you disable are not uninstalled, making it easy to re-enable them if you get over-zealous. You will have to restart the computer for these changes to take effect.

Shortened URLs, like those from bit.ly, are increasingly common, especially in scam emails. But you have no way of revealing where they go without clicking on them. However, you could copy that shortened URL into the website https://unshorten.it/ and you will see a preview of the site, along with an assessment of its safety as provided by Web of Trust.

On the Mac, there is a hidden feature to summarize long blocks of text, Go into System Preferences, then Keyboard. Click on the Shortcuts tab, then click on Services in the left column window. Scroll down the right column, looking for Summarize under the section for Text. Check it and close out of System Preferences. Now, you should be able to highlight a block of text, click on the name of your application (up by the black Apple logo) and look under Services for Summarize. It may not be perfect but it is worth a try.

If you find you are running out of space for photos on your iPhone and you don’t really want to pay for iCloud storage, then consider the Google Photos app. It will upload your iPhone photos to your Google account, and Google offers free unlimited space for photos up to 16 megapixels each. Read more at https://www.google.com/photos/about/.

When nothing else turns off your computer, you can always press the power button for five seconds until all lights go off, then turn it back on. It may take a bit longer to boot up, since it’s checking files and such. If this becomes a regular occurrence, though, there is likely something else wrong and you should have it checked out.

Bill Scobie fixes computers and networks for small businesses and home. 628-2354 or bill@scobie.net

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