Computer Tips and Software Recommended by Joe McDonald

  Quick Software Links (More Details, scroll down)
   Classic Shell   Click Here         Free Office Click here      Printer Software - Click here          Internet Speed Test - Click here
  Thunderbird   Click here          Microsoft Edge - Click here         Google Chrome Click here          
 Microsoft Windows Tips `n Tricks  Click here                                                    Apple Mac Tips `n Tricks Click here

Spectrum Bulk services community phone number - 877-647-7732

Comcast Bulk services community phone number - 877-834-6757

 Trilogy Computer & Tech Club                                                                                                  Kings Ridge Computer Club


Windows 10: Click on the "hamburger" (3 lines) to find you stuff.

Windows 10 Versions - type winver into search window then hit enter key

Build 1511 = Service Pack 1 (Expired)

Build 1607 = Service Pack 2 (Expired)

Build 1703 = Service Pack 3 (Expired)

Build 1709 = Service Pack 4 (Expired)

Build 1803 = Service Pack 5 (Expired)

Build 1809 = Service Pack 6 (Expired)

Build 1903 = Service Pack 7  (Expired)

Build 1909 = Service Pack 8 (Expired)

Build 2004 = Service Pack 9 (Expired)

Build 20H2 = Service Pack 10 (Expired)

 Build 21H1 = Service Pack 11 (Expired)

Build 21H2 = Service Pack 12 (Expired)

Build 22H2 = Service Pack 13 (installing now) Expires October 25th, 2025

May 2023 News: Microsoft has decided that Build 22H2 will be the last Feature (new stuff) update to be released for Windows 10 users. Security Updates will be released monthly until October 2025.

Windows 11 has been released. If your computer is compatible, you will get the message pictured above. I recommend that you click on the "Stay on Windows 10 for now" option. Windows 11 is not as good as Windows 10.

Most Windows 10 PC computers will not be able to take advantage of this free upgrade. Older PCs (Windows 7 upgraded to Windows 10) may not be able to handle the new Windows Operating System. Windows 10 is supported until October 2025. Computers that can upgrade to Windows 11 are getting this message "Note: Some Windows 10 features aren't available in Windows 11" (see below). Why upgrade if you are going to get less features...


Windows 11 Versions - type winver into search window then hit enter key

Fall 2021 Build 21H2 - (Expired)

Fall 2022 Build 22H2 = (Expired)

Fall 2023 Build 23H2 = Service Pack 2

Build 24H2 - Coming Fall 2024

Windows 11 Feature Updates expire 2 years from release date.

Make sure to backup your computer before you install an update.  

Build numbers indicate month & year they were created. 1903 was created in March (03) of 2019 (19). All builds (Service Packs) are supported for 18 months (1 1/2 years).  Click here for more information. Feature Updates were released twice a year, these are large updates that take over two hours to install. Feature Updates are now released only once a year.

In the Fall of 2020 Microsoft changed the way they label their Feature Updates. 

Fall 2023 Build 23H2 = (H2 stands for 2nd half of 2020)


Microsoft installs Windows 10 & 11 updates when you Restart your computer. I recommend that you log off your account then click on Power button in bottom right then click on "Restart and update". Logging off keeps your documents and photos safe. 


A service pack includes security updates and a new look. Microsoft labels the versions "builds" which is confusing to most Windows users. So I am labeling the updates Service Packs which is easier to understand.

I recommend installing the Classic Shell on both Windows 10 & 11 computers. It hides the craziness of Windows 10 & 11. You can setup the Start menu to the way you want, which makes Windows easier to use. See below for more information on this program.



Warning: Fake Computer Lock ups

CTRL + ALT + Delete then Sign Out


Please print out the above picture, and tape it near your computer. This will save you from hours of turmoil related to the bad guys taking over your computer. If you do not pay them the money they demand, then they will lock your computer. If this happens to you, there is NO FIX! You will have to buy a new computer, and all your pictures and documents will be lost. Do not call the number on the screen!!

Breaking News: CTRL + ALT + Delete then sign out not always working with latest Internet browser lockup. The New solution is to turn off the Internet to unlock the computer. If you get a window (like the on pictured below) press on CTRL + ALT + Delete on keyboard then unplug your wireless router or cable modem and then wait! It takes about 1 minute for the website to lose control of your computer. Then the window appears for you to click on sign out. Then plug your wireless router or cable modem back in and then sign back into your account and everything should be back to normal. 

If the browser locks up a second time then the Internet browser must be reset to clean out the hijack (most likely your Search Engine is set to the bad guys). Contact me for instructions to reset your Internet browser. This can happen to the Apple computer as well. 

All it takes is you can be browsing the Internet for a coupon or a recipe, and all of a sudden a window appears on your screen. It says its from Microsoft or Apple, and a phone number is in the message. In some cases, there is also a loud beeping noise, which makes most users panic. If you call the number on the screen, they will say they can 'fix' your computer, and will trick you into giving them remote control over your computer. They will make a copy of all your documents and pictures to their computer, and will install nasty malware. Finally, they will demand $200 to $400 to 'fix' it. In the latest twist to this scam if you refuse to pay, they insert a fake Blue Screen of Death which makes it look like your computer is dead. 

Click here for more information -

                                     May 24 - this is an example (below) of the latest fake lockups that are appearing.

If you are a AAA Member they offer Credit Monitoring Plans.

Click here for more information from AAA.

Click here to report a scam to Microsoft.

Click here: Seven Steps to Restore your Identity 


Windows 7 expired on January 14th, 2020.  Windows 8.1 expired on January 10th, 2023. Windows 10 expires October 2025. Windows 11 was released in the Fall 2021. Click here for more information about the Lifecycle of Windows.  

Internet Explorer expired January 14th, 2020. Edge browser released January 15th 2020 on all Windows Operating Systems. 

This is the icon for the new Edge Internet browser. If you use Google Chrome then this browser will be easy for you to use, its based on the Google Chrome browser.



Windows - Click here  Windows 10, 11 Tips, step by step instructions. 

Desktop, All in one, Laptops

Android tablets and smart phones.






Apple/Mac -  Click here

 iMac, Macbook, Mac Mini, iPad & iPhone advice and user guides.





MacOS 15 Sequoia - to be released Fall 2024



Recommended Software

Windows 10/11  - Windows Security


August 2019 - Rated 'Best Antivirus' status PC Magazine. Click here to read more.

Fall 2021 - AV Test - Best Antivirus. Click here to read more.

This is also a free virus program. To get it, uninstall your current virus program then restart your computer. Windows Security turns itself on when it confirms no other virus program is on the computer. No other actions are needed. Program updates through Windows Updates and scans your computer weekly.

If you get a notification about setting up One Drive or signing into a Microsoft account, please click on Dismiss.

Click here to review the steps to set up this program correctly.

Headlines like the one below having been appearing in the News in 2024. I now recommend activating ransomware protection in your Anti-virus program. 

Windows Security offers this as a free feature. Below is more details on how to activate and manage this protection.
Windows Security Ransomware protection: How to Prevent Unauthorized Access to Folders

There are certain malicious applications that can make changes to your files and folders without your knowledge. This may include anything from encrypting these files or deleting them altogether. 

1 - Click on the Start button and select Settings.
2 - In the Settings dashboard, click on Update & Security.
3 - In the navigation bar on the left, click on Windows Security and then click on Open Windows Security.

This will lead you to the Windows Security dashboard where you can see various settings.
1 - Now click on Virus & threat protection.
2 - Scroll down until you find Ransomware protection and then select Manage Ransomware Protection.
3 - Switch Controlled folder access to On.
After turning on Controlled folder access, you can see whether any applications have tried to make changes to a folder. This can be done by clicking the Block history option.

Furthermore, if you want to allow a trusted application to make changes to your folders, you can add it as an exception via the Allow an app through Controlled folder access option.


Classic Shell start menu. Click here to download this file. This program brings back the Start menu & hides the Metro screen. It makes the computer fun to use again. This is a free program. Please contact me if you need help installing this program on your Windows 10 or Windows 11 computers. 

Thunderbird email program is the solution if you are tired of web based mail. When you log into the popular websites to check your email you are met with annoying advertisements, hard to use email programs and slow websites. The solution is to install a program on your computer that brings a copy of your email right to your computer. You will no longer see the ads & the email will be as fast as your Internet speed can handle. You can also setup this program for all your email accounts. I am currently using it to check over 10 email accounts at once. If you would like to try this program, click here to go the the Mozilla Thunderbird website. Then click on the green download button & follow the instructions on the webpage that loads. If your computer has been setup with the Safe Setup Service, please install the program in the Admin account then go your account to add your email addresses. Then sit back and enjoy email like it was meant to be, fun! Can now be installed on Apple/Mac Computers.

The Thunderbird program now as easy to use Import/Export tools which come in handy when its time to buy a new computer. Click on Tools menu then click on Import then the window below appears. On the previous computer choose Tools then Export to save your profile to a flash drive, then choose Tools Import to copy that profile to the new computer.


Free Office Program  

If you do not want to purchase Microsoft Office to write letters or word on spread sheets there is a free alternative called LibreOffice. This program will open your current Word or Excel documents and allow you to change them. It also allows you to create new documents.  Note: the Draw program can be used to create newsletters and flyers.

Libre Office - Click Here  Click on Green Main Installer button. Looks like Microsoft Office 2003. Easy to install and use. After you install Libre Office Open Writer then click on Tools menu then click on Options then General/Save and change to "Save as Word 2007-365 (.docx)". Turn off "Warn when not saving as .odt format". Repeat these steps in the Calc (Spreadsheets) and set to safe as Spreadsheets (.xlsx)

Click here to see the instructions on how to use these programs (choose PDF versions).



Google Chrome Internet browser is required by some online banks. This program is difficult to find to download, many users end up installing a fake, malware version called Chromlin (purple icon). If you have this fake version please have your computer cleaned as soon as possible. Click here to download the real Google Chrome -




2022 Spectrum has upgraded their standard equipment.

They now have separate boxes, Modem can handle speeds 200 MBPS and higher. Previous modems could not get above 100 MBPS. Most modems are for Internet service for your home. Depending on your contracts they may include VOIP phone service (Voice Over Internet Protocol).

The new wifi Router does include 4 ports on the back but for some reason, 3 are disabled. I recommend buying your own wifi router. The brand I recommend is TP Link.

Printer Software

HP Printer Drivers website Click here.

Brothers Printer Drivers - Click here.

Epson Printer Drivers - Click here.

Canon Printer Drivers - Click here.


Speed Test

Click here to run the Spectrum Speed Test.  Click on GO button. Its measured in Mega Bits Per Second (MBPS). Wireless connections may be slower then Ethernet (cable connection). 

Comcast Speed Test - Click here

Please call 352-449-8561 for an appointment or email me at