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Try Windows 8 for free with Windows 8 Consumer Preview

You would think that doing computer repair for a living, the last thing I would want to do is try out a beta operating system. But I have to admit that I love playing around with new operating systems (been doing it since Windows 95). And now it's time to try out Windows 8. And you can try it out too, for free, with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Desktop interface inside of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview
Desktop interface inside of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

The first thing you will notice is that the Start button is gone. It's been replaced by a row of charms that appears when you swipe away from right side of the screen. And the Start menu from previous versions of Windows is also gone, replaced by the Metro interface. You can access it by clicking on the Start charm on the ride side of the screen or by pressing the Windows logo key.

Metro interface inside of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview
Metro interface inside of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

The Metro interface inside of Windows 8 is more touch screen intensive, incorporating gestures like pinch / stretch and press / hold. But with a little customizing, I was able to make the Metro interface work for me on my desktop computer without a touch screen (I'm a big Windows logo key user). Here's a quote from the Microsoft website:

It's Windows reimagined and reinvented from a solid core of Windows 7 speed and reliability. It's an all-new touch interface. It's a new Windows for new devices. And it's your chance to be one of the first to try it out.

See what's new

Swipe, slide, and zoom
Touch a full-powered PC. It's fast and it's fluid. Take natural, direct, hands-on control.

Apps, front and center
Apps in Windows 8 work together to get things done faster. Get them from the Windows Store.

Your Windows, everywhere
Windows 8 can connect you to your files, photos, people, and settings, wherever you sign in.

Wall-to-wall web
Internet Explorer 10 Consumer Preview brings you immersive web browsing on screens big and small.

The familiar, made better
Still devoted to your mouse and keyboard? Windows 8 makes the tried-and-true feel brand new.

Geek note:
Windows 8 Consumer Preview is a beta version of Windows 8. Fun to play around with but in no way should you use it in a production environment. It is recommend to install it on a virtual machine like VirtualBox or a non-production computer. And remember that some of the features and/or functions may not work properly.

For more information on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, just follow the links below:

Windows 8 Consumer Preview
Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Manage e-mail, sync files and more for free with Windows Live Essentials 2011

Are you looking for a program to manage your e-mail? Or maybe one to write a blog with? Want to remotely connect computers and sync files between them? How about creating a photo gallery or movie? You can do all of these and more for free with Windows Live Essentials 2011.

Windows Live Essentials installation options
Windows Live Essentials installation options

If you're familiar with Windows, some of these programs you will already know about. Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and Messenger, for example, have been around for a few years. Writer and Family Safety, on the other hand, are new. And Outlook Express users will be happy to learn that Windows Live Mail is an updated version of OE. You can import all of your settings from an existing version of Outlook Express into it.

Main screen in Windows Live Mesh
The main screen in Windows Live Mesh

With Windows Live Mesh, you can synchronize files, folders and program settings between different computers, PC or MAC. Or you can sync files to the cloud using SkyDrive. You can also use Live Mesh to connect remotely to another computer. There are so many programs / features included in Windows Live Essentials it's hard to list them all. Here's a quote from the Windows Live website:

Windows Live Essentials is a suite of products available in one easy download. Get them all at once, or choose just the ones you want.

Mail
Manage multiple email accounts, calendars, and your contacts, even when you're offline.

Family Safety
Help keep your kids safe online.

Mesh
Kiss your zip drive goodbye—keep your files and photos synced on your PCs. And connect remotely to all of your files and programs.

Writer
Create stunning blog posts in minutes, with photos, videos, maps, and more. Then publish them to any of your favorite blog service providers.

Messenger Companion
Bring your friends along when you browse the web. See and comment on links your friends have shared as you visit websites in Internet Explorer.

Outlook Connector Pack
Manage Hotmail from within Outlook.

Bing Bar
Get search results from Bing without leaving the site you're on.

Silverlight
See rich, interactive websites with this browser plug-in.

Windows Live Essentials is available for 32-bit or 64-bit versions of Windows 7, Windows Vista with Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008 with Service Pack 2. For more information on Windows Live Essentials, just follow the links below:

Windows Live Essentials
Windows Live Essentials Overview

Try Windows 8 for free with Windows 8 Developer Preview

By now, you have probability started hearing the buzz about Windows 8. Maybe it's the new interface, Metro, which brings touch screen ease of use and the simple tile look of the Windows 7 phone to the desktop. Or maybe it's the Metro apps, that with a connected Windows Live account, can be downloaded and used on any Windows 8 computer you login to. Or, my favorite, the improved multi-monitor options. But did you know you can try it out right now for free with the Windows 8 Developer Preview?

Login Screen inside of Windows 8Developer Preview
The login screen inside of Windows 8 Developer Preview. You slide the screen upward to get to the username and password fields.

Windows 8 Metro Interface
The Metro interface inside of Windows 8 Developer Preview. You scroll from left to right to access the different categories of tiles.

Now I have to warn you that the Windows 8 Developer Preview is a pre-beta version of Windows 8. Fun to play around with but in no way should you use it in a production environment. And remember that some of the features and/or functions may not work properly.

Windows 8 Windows Explorer
The new look of Windows Explorer inside of Windows 8 Developer Preview. Windows Explorer now sports a ribbon style toolbar.

You can upgrade an existing version of Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7. But be forewarned that you cannot uninstall this release. You can also create a multi-boot setup, with Windows 8 on a separate partition. I use Oracle's VirtualBox to run experimental operating systems like this. I downloaded to latest version and it already had pre-configured settings for Windows 8.

Here's a quote from the Windows 8 Developer website:

The Windows 8 Developer Preview is a pre-beta version of Windows 8 for developers. These downloads include prerelease software that may change without notice. The software is provided as is, and you bear the risk of using it. It may not be stable, operate correctly or work the way the final version of the software will. It should not be used in a production environment. The features and functionality in the prerelease software may not appear in the final version. Some product features and functionality may require advanced or additional hardware, or installation of other software.

Note: You can't uninstall the Windows 8 Developer Preview. To go back to your previous operating system, you must reinstall it from restore or installation media.

System Requirements

The Windows 8 Developer Preview works great on the same hardware that powers Windows Vista and Windows 7:

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
  • Taking advantage of touch input requires a screen that supports multi-touch
  • To run Metro style Apps, you need a screen resolution of 1024 X 768 or greater

Notes about installing the Windows 8 Developer Preview

A clean install is supported on all builds, but you can upgrade if you are installing a download without the developer tools. You will receive the full set of migration options when setup is launched in Windows. To dual-boot, you must first boot from media and choose an alternative partition.

For more information on the Windows 8 Developer Preview, just follow the link below:

Windows Dev Center

Access your programs, files and websites quicker with Pin and Jump Lists in Windows 7

If you use a program or visit a website on a regular basis in Windows 7, you may want to pin it to the Start menu or taskbar for quicker access. When you pin a program or website to the Start menu or taskbar, you can always see it there and easily access it with a single click. Windows 7 also includes Jump Lists, so that in addition to launching a program from the Start menu or taskbar, you can now launch favorite and recent items from that program, just by clicking the same button.

Pin a program to the taskbar

Pin a program to the taskbar in Windows 7

You can pin a program directly to the taskbar so you can open it quickly and conveniently, rather than looking for the program in the Start menu.

How to pin a program to the taskbar

If the program is already running, right-click the program's button on the taskbar (or drag the button toward the desktop) to open the program’s Jump List, and then click Pin this program to taskbar.
or
If the program isn't running, click Start, find the program’s icon, right-click the icon, and then click Pin to Taskbar.

You can also pin a program by dragging the program's shortcut from the desktop or Start menu to the taskbar. Additionally, if you drag the shortcut of a file, folder, or website to the taskbar, and the associated program isn't already pinned there, then that program is pinned to the taskbar and the item is pinned to the program’s Jump List.

Notes:
To remove a pinned program from the taskbar, open the program's Jump List, and then click Unpin this program from taskbar.
Folders and shortcuts to folders appear in the Windows Explorer Jump List when opened or pinned.
You can pin a program from the Start menu to the taskbar, but not from the taskbar to the Start menu.

Pin a program to the Start menu

Pin a program to the Start menu in Windows 7

You can pin a program to the top of the Start menu so that you can open those programs quickly and conveniently.

How to pin a program to the Start menu

Click Start, find the program, right-click it, and then click Pin to Start Menu.
or
Click Start, finding the program, and then dragging it to the top left section of the Start menu.

The program's icon appears at the top of the Start menu.

Geek Tip:
You might decide to pin frequently-used programs to the taskbar, and occasionally-used programs to the Start menu.

Note:
Jump Lists contain recently-opened items and appear on the Start menu next to pinned and recently-used programs. You can pin items to Jump Lists.

Pin a website to the taskbar

Pin a website to the taskbar in Windows 7

You can also pin a frequently visited website to the taskbar, just like you would a program.

How to pin a website to the taskbar

Click the webpage's tab and drag it to the taskbar.

To remove a pinned website from the taskbar:
Right-click the website icon on the taskbar, and then click Unpin this program from taskbar.

Using Jump Lists to open programs and items

Using Jump List on the taskbar in Windows 7

Jump Lists are lists of recently or frequently opened items, such as files, folders, tasks, or websites, organized by the program that you use to open them. In addition to being able to open recent items using a Jump List, you can also pin favorite items to a Jump List so you can quickly get to the items that you use every day.

On the taskbar, Jump Lists appear for programs that you've pinned to the taskbar and programs that are currently running. You can view the Jump List for a program by right-clicking the taskbar button, or by dragging the button toward the desktop. You open items from the Jump List by clicking them.

Managing programs and items with Jump Lists
On the taskbar, Jump Lists appear for programs that you've pinned to the taskbar and programs that are currently running. On the Start menu, Jump Lists appear for programs that you've pinned to the Start menu and programs that you've opened recently. (Jump Lists don't appear in All Programs on the Start menu.)

Jump Lists can include recently opened items, frequently opened items, tasks, or websites, in addition to any items that you've pinned.

You'll always see the same items in the Jump List for a program, regardless of whether you view the list on the Start menu or the taskbar. For example, if you pin an item to a program’s Jump List on the taskbar, the item also appears in that program's Jump List on the Start menu.

Notes:
In addition to any pinned or currently open items, Jump Lists on the taskbar contain several commands that you can use to close an item or unpin the program from the taskbar.
You can drag an item from a Jump List to copy it to another location. For example, you can drag a document from a Jump List to an e-mail message if you want to send it to someone.

Working with Jump Lists on the Start menu
Jump Lists on the Start menu give you quick access to the things you use most often.

To view the Jump List for a program:
Click Start, point to a pinned program or to a recently used program near the top of the Start menu, and then point to or click the arrow next to the program.

To open an item:
Click Start, point to a pinned program or to a recently used program near the top of the Start menu to open the program's Jump List, and then click the item.

    To pin an item to a Jump List:
  1. Click Start, and then open the program's Jump List.
  2. Point to the item, click the pushpin icon, and then click Pin to this list.
    To unpin an item:
  1. Click Start, and then open the Jump List for the program.
  2. Point to the item, click the pushpin icon, and then click Unpin from this list.

Note:
The next time you open an item that you've unpinned, it might reappear in the Jump List. To remove an item from the list, right-click the item, and then click Remove from this list.

Working with Jump Lists on the taskbar
Jump Lists on the taskbar give you quick access to the things you use most often.

To view the Jump List for a program:
Right-click the program's button on the taskbar.

To open an item from a Jump List:
Open the program's Jump List, and then click the item.

To pin an item to a Jump List:
Open the program's Jump List, point to the item, click the pushpin icon, and then click Pin to this list.

Notes:
You can also drag a file icon or a shortcut from the Start menu or the desktop to the taskbar. This pins the item to the Jump List and also pins the program to the taskbar, if it isn't pinned already.
Folders are considered Windows Explorer items, and appear in the Windows Explorer Jump List when pinned or opened.

To unpin an item:
Open the program's Jump List, point to the item, click the pushpin icon, and then click Unpin from this list.

Note:
The next time you open an item that you've unpinned, it might reappear in the Jump List. To remove an item from the list, right-click the item, and then click Remove from this list.

Quickly adjust the settings on your Windows 7 laptop / netbook with Windows Mobility Center

Have you ever needed to change a setting on your Windows 7 laptop / netbook quickly? Maybe change the screen brightness or turn on/off your wi-fi? You can do just that and more with Windows Mobility Center inside of Windows 7.

Windows Mobility Center in Windows 7
Windows Mobility Center inside of Windows 7

Windows Mobility Center displays the most commonly used laptop / netbook settings, such as brightness, volume, battery status, and wireless network status. Different tiles are displayed depending on your system, and some tiles are added by your laptop / netbook manufacturer.

Here are some of the settings you might find in the Windows Mobility Center. Remember, not all settings are available on all laptops.

  • Brightness. Move the slider to temporarily adjust the brightness of your display. To adjust the display brightness settings for your power plan, click the icon to open Power Options.
  • Volume. Move the slider to adjust the speaker volume of your laptop, or select the Mute check box.
  • Battery Status. View how much charge remains on your battery or select a power plan from the list.
  • Wireless Network. View the status of your wireless network connection or turn your wireless network adapter on or off.
  • Screen Rotation. Change the orientation of your Tablet PC screen from portrait to landscape, or vice versa.
  • External Display. Connect an additional monitor to your laptop, or customize the display settings.
  • Sync Center. View the status of an in-progress file sync, start a new sync, set up a sync partnership, or change your settings in Sync Center.

How to access Windows Mobility Manager on a Windows 7 based laptop or netbook

  • Click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Accessories, then Windows Mobility Manager.
  • Or
  • Click Start, and then type mobility center in the Start Search box.

Geek Tips:

    Windows Mobility Center on the Taskbar in Windows 7
  • Pin the Windows Mobility Manager to the Taskbar for even quickier access to it.
  • Click an icon to quickly open options for that setting. For example, click the Battery Status icon to open Power Options, and from there select a power plan.

Notes:

If the Turn wireless on button is unavailable, you might need to use the hardware switch on your computer to turn on the wireless network adapter. For more information about turning the adapter on and off, check the documentation that came with your computer.

If a setting doesn't appear, it might be because the required hardware (such as a wireless network adapter) or drivers are missing. For example, if the Turn wireless on button is unavailable, you might need to use the hardware switch on your computer to turn on the wireless adapter.

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Here at Geeks in Phoenix, we take pride in providing excellent customer service. From computer repair, virus removal and data recovery, we aim to give the highest quality of service.

Bring your computer to us and save

Our in-shop computer repair service  is based on the time we work on your computer, not the time it takes your computer to work!

Contact us

Geeks in Phoenix
4722 East Monte Vista Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85008
(602) 795-1111

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Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company specializing in all aspects of Computer Repair / PC Repair / Laptop Repair. Since 2008, our expert computer repair technicians have been providing outstanding Computer Repair, Virus Removal, Data Recovery, Photo Manipulation and Website Support.

Geeks in Phoenix have the best computer repair technicians providing computer repair and service in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe Arizona. We offer In-Shop, On-Site and Remote (with stable Internet connection) computer repair service.

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