Geeks in Phoenix

Geek Blog


My first look at Windows 11

Microsoft recently announced that they are releasing a successor to Windows 10, aptly named Windows 11. So join me as I take a look at Windows 11.

My first look at Windows 11

When Microsoft announced the next version of Windows, I went looking for a beta or technical preview of Windows 11. I soon found out that the only way to get a version of Windows 11 is through their Insider Program.

Well, it just so happens that I had created a Virtual Machine (VM) a couple of years ago for the Windows 10 Insider Program. I started it, and sure enough, Windows informed me that I need to download a new build of Windows.

I went through the upgrade process, and when all was said and done, I had Windows 11 Insider Preview running inside a VM. So let's take a look at Windows 11.

Note: This build of Windows 11 that I am using for this article is just a beta, so the look and the way it operates may and probably will change before the final release of Windows 11.

Login Screen

The Windows 11 Logon Screen

Not much different here from Windows 10. The default font has changed, but other than that, it looks and feels like Windows 10.

Taskbar

The Windows 11 Taskbar

The first thing you will notice when the Desktop appears is that the Start button and pinned programs are centered in the Taskbar. Is this by default, and can it be easily changed back to left-justified.

Start Menu

The Windows 11 Start Menu

The Start Menu has gotten a makeover, with a new cleaner looking layout. All the same features are available, but they are arranged completely different.

Power User menu

The Windows 11 Power Users menu

It is still there, The only component of Windows 8.1 to still be inside of Windows. Don't remember Windows 8.1? That is one version of Windows I would love to forget.

Settings

The Windows 11 Settings app

As with the Start Menu, the Settings app has also received a makeover, getting broken into two (2) columns. The categories are now listed in the left-side column, and sub-categories are listed in the right-hand column.

Control Panel

The Windows 11 Control Panel

Microsoft has been trying to eliminate the Control Panel for a while now, but it still exists in the preview build I am running. Who knows if it will make it to the final build of Windows 11.

File Explorer

The Windows 11 File Explorer

File Explorer has gotten a small makeover too. The Ribbon appears to be gone, and a simple toolbar with the most commons functions has taken its place. We will have to wait until the final build to see if the Ribbon is truly gone.

The overall look and feel of Windows 11 is smoother than Windows 10. With rounded corners on dialog boxes and newer icons, Windows 11 looks like an excellent successor to Windows 10.

But of course, we will have to wait and see how the final build of Windows 11 looks and feels. For a more in-depth look at this version of Windows 11, check out the video below.

Create, extract and edit archive files with 7-Zip

For decades now, we have been compressing files and folders to make them smaller to attach to an e-mail or archive. I have used many archiving programs over the years, but the best one I have found is 7-Zip.

The 7-Zip File Manager

7-Zip is one of the most straightforward archiving programs I have ever used. It can work with a ton of different file types and has a high compression rate.

7-Zip can create several different archive files, including ZIP, TAR, and of course, 7z. And it can also open over thirty (30) other archive formats, including CAB, DMG, ISO, and RAR.

The 7-Zip File Manager is straightforward to use and has a ton of features. Besides being able to create and open archive files, it can also edit them, including splitting and combining archive files.

But the best feature is the right-click context menu. You can right-click on some files or folders and quickly create an archive file from them (7z or ZIP).

The 7-Zip right-click context menu

Or you can right-click on an archive file and quickly open, extract or test it. And the cool thing is you can edit the functions that the right-click menu can perform.

7-Zip is an open-source program that began over twenty years (20) ago and is still going strong. It has been translated into over ten (10) different languages, including French, Spanish, and German.

7-Zip is available in either 32 or 64-bit versions and can run on all Windows versions from Windows XP and up. And it is free to use for either personal or commercial use.

For more information on 7-Zip, follow the link below.

7-Zip

Synchronize folders and files on your Windows computer with Allway Sync

Are you looking for an easy way to synchronize your files to another computer on your network? Or maybe you want to sync to an external drive or the cloud. If so, then take a look at Allway Sync by Botkind.

Synchronize folders and files on your Windows computer with Allway Sync

For years now, I have been using synchronization programs to make an exact copy of my files on network drives and external devices. Over ten years ago, Microsoft released a straightforward file synchronization program called SyncToy.

But Microsoft dropped support for SyncToy a few years ago, and eventually, it stopped working correctly. That is when I started looking for another synchronization application and found Allway Sync.

Windows 10 does have a built-in file sync program called File History, but it is pretty basic. With File History, you can sync to a network folder or external drive, but not to the cloud.

On the other hand, Allway Sync can sync to a local or network folder, FTP / SFTP server, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and several different cloud storage types. You can even sync to a single archive file.

The user interface inside of Allway Sync
The user interface inside of Allway Sync

The user interface is simple to use and easy to understand. The sync options are quite extensive and include data compression and encryption. You can set up multiple sync jobs and customize each job to meet your needs.

The sync job options menu inside of Allway Sync
The sync job options menu inside of Allway Sync

The options for sync jobs include synchronization rules, automatic synchronization, inclusion and exclusion filters, file versioning, error handling, and custom actions.

I have several clients that use synchronization software for backing up files. The primary reason is that files can be recovered quickly, as they do not have to be decrypted. Just copy the file you want to be recovered back to the original folder.

Allway Sync is free for personal use, with a limit of 40,000 files per 30 day period. But for unlimited file synchronization, purchasing a Pro license is recommended. FYI - A pro license is not that expensive (under $30).

There are a couple of different editions of Allway Sync, a desktop edition for installing on desktops, laptops, and servers. There is also an edition, Allway Sync 'n' Go, a portable version for installing on external drives.

Allway Sync comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2016, and Windows Server 2019. They even have versions that will run on Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

For more information on Allway Sync by Botkind, click on the link below.

Allway Sync by Botkind

Create and edit text-based files with Notepad++

When it comes to editing text-based files, everyone has used Windows built-in text editor Notepad. But it is pretty basic and has very few features. If you are looking for a program that can do more than edit text files, take a look at Notepad++.

Create and edit text-based files with Notepad++

Notepad++ (Notepad plus plus) is a text/code editor based on the open-source editing component Scintilla and can be customized to a user's needs. It has an impressive list of built-in features like syntax highlighting, code folding, and extensive find and replace functions.

It includes support for over seventy (70) programming languages like HTML, JavaScript, and Visual Basic. Notepad++ can also record macros so that it can speed those repetitive commands.

Now one of the great features of Notepad++ is its customizability. You can completely change the way it looks and feels, from the font used to the background color; you can make it just the way you like it.

Screenshot of Notepad++ with the black board theme
Notepad++ with the black board theme

You can edit the shortcuts for the pull-down menus, macros, run commands, plugin commands, and Scintilla commands with the shortcut mapper. You can even edit the right-click context menu.

Screenshot of the shortcut mapper inside of Notepad++
Notepad++ shortcut mapper

But the best feature is the extension capacity using third-party plugins. Over 90 (ninety) plugins are available for Notepad++, including all sorts of coding tools and a spell checker.

Notepad++ comes in both 32 and 64-bit versions, and there are two ways to install it; the automatic installer or the portable stand-alone version. You can even modify the registry and use Notepad++ instead of Notepad, but you will have to go through the user manual to find the code.

And the best thing about Notepad++ is that it is free, but you can donate to the author to help support future releases. For more information on Notepad++, follow the link below.

Notepad++

Provide remote assistance in Windows 10 and Windows 11 with Quick Assist

Updated March 17, 2022

Do you have a family member or friend who is always calling for help with their Windows 10 or Windows 11 computer? Do you wish you could easily connect to their system and take care of their problems fast? You can do just that with the Quick Assist program inside Windows 10 and Windows 11.

Provide remote assistance in Windows 10 and Windows 11 with Quick Assist

Now there is nothing new about being able to establish a remote connection from one Windows computer to another. The Remote Assistance program has been in Windows since Windows Vista, but it does require some detailed setup before you can use it.

On the other hand, Quick Assist is installed in Windows 10 and Windows 11 and is pretty much ready to go when you needed. Its requirements are pretty minimal: both computers have to be running Windows 10 or Windows 11, and the person assisting needs to have a Microsoft account.

Quick Assist does have a few great features. The first one has to be how easy and straightforward it is to use. It comes already installed, and all you have to do is start it up and follow the prompts.

The second feature that stands out is the ability to restart the remote computer you are giving assistance to and have the connection restart automatically. This feature is handy when installing and uninstalling software on the remote computer.

A couple of the other great features are the ability to view a single monitor or all of the monitors on the remote computer. You can annotate (draw) on the remote computer screen (great for illustrating how to do something). And there is even a button to start the Task Manager.

There are two (2) features that are not included that most remote connection software you pay for include. The first one is being able to transfer files between the two computers directly.

You can get around this by using cloud-based file storage like Dropbox or Google Drive. All you have to do is use a browser on the remote computer to log into your cloud storage and download files you uploaded from your computer.

The second feature that is missing is a shared clipboard. Quick Assist does include a chat window (instruction channel) that you can transfer links and text between the computers.

The downside is that the chat window gets cleared with every message that is sent. You can get around this problem by enabling the Clipboard history on the remote computer.

Then in the chat window on the remote computer, you can click on the Copy button, and have all of the pieces of text you send to the remote computer saved to the Clipboard. For more on Windows 10 Clipboard features, follow the link below.

How to use all of the Clipboard features in Windows 10

How to start a Quick Assist session

How to open Quick Assist inside of Windows 11

  1. Left-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the Start menu, left-click on All apps.
  3. Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on Windows Tools.
  4. Left-click on Quick Assist.

or

  1. Left-click on the magnifying glass to the right of the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Search dialog box.
  2. In the Search dialog box, type Quick Assist.
  3. In the list of results, the Quick Assist should be highlighted.
  4. Left-click on Quick Assist.

How to open Quick Assist program inside of Windows 10

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo button and scroll down to Windows Accessories.
  2. Left-click on it to expand the contents.
  3. Left-click on Quick Assist.

or

  1. Using the search box on the right side of the Start Windows logo button, type in Quick Assist,
  2. Left-click on it in the search results.

Once Quick Assist is up on your screen,
The Quick Assist setup screen
there are two choices: Get assistance and Give assistance.

If you are getting assistance

  1. Enter the 6-digit security code from the person assisting you and left-click on the Share screen button.
  2. You will be prompted to allow access to your computer.
    The Quick Assist share your screen dialog box
    Left-click on the Allow button to share your screen.

If you are giving assistance

  1. Left-click on the Assist another person button. You will be prompted for the email address and password associated with your Microsoft account.
  2. Once you are logged in, a security code will appear.
    The Quick Assist share security code dialog box
    There are some options on how to deliver the security code at the bottom of this dialog box. But the majority of the time, you will have the person you are assisting on the phone. Give them the 6-digit security code.
  3. The next screen will ask you what sharing option you want.
    The Quick Assist sharing option dialog box
    You can choose between Take full control or View screen. Make your selection and left-click on Continue.

Free computer diagnostics

Repairing a PC can sometimes be expensive, and that is why we offer free basic in-shop diagnostics. Give one of our professional and experienced technicians a call at (602) 795-1111, and let's see what we can do for you.

Check out our reviews

Geeks In Phoenix LLC, BBB Business Review

Customer service is #1

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

Bring your computer to us and save

Repairing a computer can be time-consuming. That is why we base our in-shop service on the time we work on your computer, not the time it takes for your computer to work! From running memory checking software to scanning for viruses, these are processes that can take some time.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at (602) 795-1111  and talk with one of our Geeks. Or you can send us a message from our contact page contact page , and one of our Geeks will get back to you as soon as possible. Or you can stop by and see us. Here are our hours and location.

Like Geeks in Phoenix on Facebook

Follow Geeks in Phoenix on Twitter

Watch Geeks in Phoenix on YouTube

Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company specializing in servicing laptop and desktop computers. Since 2008, our expert and knowledgeable technicians have provided excellent computer repair, virus removal, data recovery, photo manipulation, and website support to the greater Phoenix metro area.

At Geeks in Phoenix, we have the most outstanding computer consultants that provide the highest exceptional service in Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and Tempe, Arizona. We offer in-shop, on-site, and remote (with stable Internet connection) computer support and services.

Geeks in Phoenix
Expert service at affordable prices!
4722 East Monte Vista Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85008
(602) 795-1111

Copyright © 2022 Geeks in Phoenix LLC