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Click to see full-sizeTwo issues ago, I wrote about "Windows 8 Whiners," people - mostly semi- or totally-computer-illiterate folks - who complain that the "Start button" (which hasn't existed since Windows XP) is missing! Well, it's back... that is, in the Windows 8.1 Preview. Win8 users who don't download the Preview from Microsoft's website will receive it as an automatic update this fall. Select the thumbnail photo to see it full-size, and you'll notice a small arrow in a circle. When you touch or click on it, icons for your apps appear.

BTW, if you want to install the Windows 8.1 Preview, be aware that it's a huge download: 2.4Gb! I started downloading at about 1 p.m., and it seemed to hang at about 37% complete. Then the message changed to "Pending" and it stayed that way until I went to bed. The next morning it was still "Pending," so I did a System Restore and restarted the download. After taking our grandsons swimming in the afternoon, I saw at 5 p.m. that the download finished and it was ready to install. The installation process is essentially a complete, new operating system, so it takes about an hour to save your old apps, install Win 8.1, then move the old apps to the new Windows version. You'll see a "Windows.old" folder on the hard drive.

Two men were on a safari in Africa, and one morning they woke up to see a lion about 50 m. from their camp. The first guy started to run away, but the second guy was putting on his sport shoes. The first one said: "Why are you doing that? You can't run faster than a lion!" The second guy answered: "All I have to do is run faster than you!"

Click to see full-size!Here my apps, icluding some with the word "NEW" under the app's name. These new apps - "Alarms, Facebook Now, Food & Drink, Health & Fitness, Help & Tips, Reading List, Scan, Sound Recorder and YouTube Now" - come with Win 8.1. SkyDrive has changed: it's now integrated with File Explorer, so there's no longer a desktop app for it. And the default location for saving new files is in the SkyDrive Documents folder, so your files will be automatically uploaded to your SkyDrive account.

If you want to change the color, background or have the same background images on the Start screen that you have on your Desktop, select the "Settings" gear-shaped charm that appears when you swipe from the right side of the screen, or move the mouse pointer to the upper- or lower-right corner and click on the gear. Then select "Personalize" and choose the colors or background images you want. It works great!

If you want to boot directly to the Desktop, click on its Taskbar and select "Properties." Then click on the "Navigation" tab, and under the Start screen section, check the box next to "Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in." I haven't tested this because I want to get used to the new Start screen, but for people who just hate the Start screen or need to get to work right away, they might try it.

Click on Online PC Support for our worldwide help   &   Offsite Backup Services for securing your files!

If you want to switch from the Start screen to the Windows 8-style Desktop, simply select the "Desktop" tile in the Start screen's lower-left corner. To return to the Start screen, Select the new Windows button or press the Windows key (if your device has a keyboard!). Click to see full-size! Pressing the Windows key again switches back and forth. Left-click on the Windows key to see (in the full-size photo) a pop-up menu of system commands: "Programs and Features, Mobility Center, Power Options," etc. all the way down to "Run, Shut Down, Desktop." It's rather plain, certainly not "eye candy" - I hope the final Win8.1 release looks better. You can also press the Windows Key + X to bring up this menu.

Strangely, however, there's no way on this menu to call up a list of all installed apps (programs): you must go to the Start screen and select the circled arrow to find and launch them... even your Win7 or older "legacy" apps. The old "Accesories" apps, however, were nowhere to be found! Looking for the old Calculator app, I clicked on "Calculator" on the Start screen, but a new Win8 calculator took up the whole screen. I like to open the old Calculator app together with my online bank statement so I can balance my checkbook, but a full-screen calculator doesn't cut it.

I couldn't find "calc" or "calculator" in the Program Files or Program Files (x86) folders, so I googled it and learned it's located in the Windows\System32 folder. I created a desktop icon for it and a hot-key combination: Ctrl + Alt + C, and now I have my old claculator back! In the process, though, of searching for my old calculator, I discovered a new Program Files\WindowsApps folder, but it's hidden and locked so I couldn't see what's in it.

The Security Blurb:
With all the fuss about the NSA keeping metadata (not the contents) of Americans' phone calls, the article PRISM and SORM: Big Brother is watching" tells us that Russia's FSB - the renamed KGB - does a much more thorough job of spying on its citizens. It states: "'The Russian system is even more advanced [than the American one],' Andrei Soldatov, an investigative journalist and author of several books on Russian security services, told The Moscow News. 'There has also been a massive increase in its [surveillance] activity recently, provoked in part by the Moscow protests - and by the changes in the political situation.'" There! That should make us all feel better, right?

Now that Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who leaked details of the PRISM program, is stuck in Moscow's Sheremetevo Airport transit area without a valid passport, the latest news is that Russia might have to offer him political asylum because he can't travel anywhere. So he may have to spend the rest of his life in a country where the government's spying on its citizens is more endemic than in the U.S. Oh, the irony!

The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk or at your side, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Best regards,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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