Tech Tip – Open A Link In A New Browser Tab With Just One Click

If you would like to know how to save time and easily open a link in an online document in its own new browser tab using one just click, here’s how:

– If you are browsing an online document that has a link in it, click the ‘middle’ button of your mouse over the link.

– The link will open in its own new browser tab.

– Middle-click on that open tab to close it again.

Tech Tip – How To Keep Your Wi-Fi Connection Secure

A good, secure Wi-Fi connection is often the backbone of many peoples’ day-to-day online business and is a key component of data security, so, here are a few tips for making sure that your wireless connection is secure:

– Make sure that your router’s firmware is up to date and that you have replaced the router’s default password with your own secure one.

– Make sure that WPA-2 or higher encryption is enabled.

– Avoid using public Wi-Fi to send sensitive data unless you are using VPN.  It may also be sensible to limit your use of public Wi-Fi (which has been relatively easy to do anyway during the pandemic).

– Disable network name broadcasting to the public via your router.

– Make sure that your wireless router’s firewall is turned on, or, if your router does not have an effective firewall, install a good firewall solution on your system.

Tech Tip – Start Menu Folders

Windows 10 users can help users to get organised with their current work by creating named Start menu folders that have a group of relevant live app Tiles in them.  Here’s how to create your Start menu folders:

– Click on the Start menu (bottom left).

– Click and drag the app tiles that you need for your work on top of each other.

– This will create a folder of apps that will expand when you click on it.

– Give the app folder a name so that you can easily recognise it.

Tech Tip – Save Time With Aero Shake

If you’ve got a screen full of windows open on Windows 10 and you need to unclutter your screen so you can concentrate on just the one you’re working on, the old ‘Aero Shake’ trick still works and can save time. Here is how to use it:

– Left-click on the title bar of the Window that you are working on.

– Hold down the left mouse button and shale the window from left to right.  This will minimise all the other windows.

– To restore the other windows, click and hold and shake the mouse from left to right again.

Tech Tip – Better Video Chats

If you would like to improve your video conference calls in terms of how things look, sound and operate, here are a few tips:

– Consider using a webcam rather than the built-in laptop cam.  It may be better quality (picture and sound) plus it offers flexibility in positioning.

– Consider using a slightly side-on angel for the webcam so you can talk and type at the same time while being able to look and lean-in when you need to.

– If you’re using your laptop camera, place the laptop on top of books or objects (in a safe and practical way) so that it is raised, and level with your face (eye level) rather than focusing up towards your chin or the ceiling.

– Use a neutral background and switch off lights behind you.  You may also consider using a light in front of you.

– Close windows if they are the cause of excess and distracting light and noise.

– Use a Bluetooth headset (with a microphone) and Bluetooth speakers if you have them.

– Use a mute button/control where possible and appropriate.

Tech Tip – Stop Background Apps

If you have apps running in the background on Windows 10, they can use up more of your battery power and data.  Here’s an easy way to stop background apps from running:

Go to: Settings > Privacy > Background apps.

To stop all from running, toggle ‘Let apps run in the background’ to ‘Off’.

You also have the option of choosing which apps to run in the background by going down the list individually.

Tech Tip – Background Change in Zoom

If you or anyone you know has used Zoom recently, perhaps to communicate during the lockdown, here is a way to change the background view to something a little more interesting than an overcrowded bookshelf:

– In the Zoom app, click your profile (top right), and click Settings. 

– On the left-hand menu, click Virtual Background. 

– Choose a default background (provided by Zoom) by clicking on it.  There is an option for a green screen. 

To upload a photo of your choice to use as your background:

– On the Virtual Background Page, click the + icon next to Choose Virtual Background.

– Choose the photo using the pop-up box and this photo will be featured alongside the other photos as an option for you to choose from.

– To remove any photos you upload, tap the X in their top left corner. 

– You could also choose Zoom video conferencing backgrounds from a number of websites including Storyblocks, Canva, Pixar, West Elm or Modsy.

Tech Tip – 3 Ways to help speed up your Windows 10 PC

Here are 3 tips to help speed up a Windows 10 PC:

1. Change Power Settings

If you are using a power saver plan, you can change your power settings to “Higher Performance” or “Balanced” to speed things up. This can be done via the Control Panel app, then select Hardware and Sound > Power Options.

2. Halt Windows Tips and Tricks

Stopping many of the (often unhelpful) tips and tricks that are triggered by how you use the PC can speed things up.  To do this:

– Go to the Start button.

– Select Settings.

– Go to System > Notifications & actions.

– Scroll down to Notifications and uncheck the box marked “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows.”

3. Clean Out Your Hard Disk

Your hard disk can contain many old files that just slow things down.  The ‘Storage Sense’ tool can help you to clean out the hard disk and speed things up.

– Go to Settings > System > Storage.

– Top of the screen, move the toggle ‘On’. This will let Windows monitor for and delete old junk files.

– To customize Storage Sense, go to “Configure Storage Sense or run it now” and set your requirements on the screen that appears e.g. how often Storage Sense deletes files (daily, weekly, monthly or when storage space is low).

Tech Tip – Tech Tip – On-Demand OneDrive

If you use OneDrive and you’d like to access all your files without having to download them and use storage space on your Windows device, and you’d like certain files and folders to be always available locally on your device, you can set OneDrive files to ‘On-Demand’. Here’s how:

– Sign in to OneDrive on your device.

– Select the white or blue OneDrive cloud icon in the Windows taskbar notification area.

– Select More > Settings.

– Select the ‘Save space and download files as you use them’ box. Files On-Demand settings are unique to each device, so make sure they’re turned on for each device where you want to use. 

To mark a file or folder for offline use or as online-only:

– Right-click a file or folder.

– Select Always keep on this device or Free up space

Tech Tip – Charging Properly To Take Care of Your Phone Battery

You may have found that you’ve been using your gadgets for longer and charging them more during lockdown so, if you’d like to know more about keeping your gadgets’ lithium-ion batteries healthy in the long run, here are a few important tips:

– Lithium-ion batteries do not like being charged fully to 100 per cent each time. Having an energy band of around 60 per cent rather than 100 can double the life of your phone battery.

– Letting your battery get too close to zero charge should be avoided.

– Lithium-ion batteries respond well to being charged in short bursts e.g. for five per cent here or 10 per cent here and there. Bringing your phone charge from 100 per cent right down to zero and then back up again can damage the battery’s performance and cause strange and rapid losses of power.

– Extreme heat is not good for phones and other gadget batteries, and a fully charged and extremely hot phone (left in the sun) should be avoided. However, Lithium-ion batteries like to be just warm while they charge and discharge, so wireless chargers can help battery life.