Windows Tips & Tricks by Joe McDonald

Computers (includes Microsoft PC laptops & desktop towers)


Internet Browsers Email Issues Change the Look Tweak Settings Troubleshooting Misc Stuff
Change your Internet Home Page FF Gmail Less Secure Apps Taskbar Moved Settings Menu System Restore Steps Import photos to Computer
Change your Internet Home Page GC   Taskbar New Settings Menu Troubleshooting Free version of Office 2013
Change your Internet Home Page Edge How to setup Win Live Mail Pin to Taskbar Change Active Hours Windows Defender MS Account Option Word Basics
Import Favorites into Firefox Thunderbird Import Settings Change Desktop Theme Disconnect MS Account Switch to Local Classic Shell After Update Excel Basics
Import Favorites into Google Chrome Gmail, Create Groups/Lists Hide Edge Tab How to switch to Local account  (win 8.1) Setup new computer Libre Office
Edge Favorites Print Yahoo email

Personalize Color & Themes

Add Local Account High Contrast Mode Privacy Settings

Install Google Chrome

Print from AOL email

Screen Orientation

Restart Request

Things to Do after Update

Sign out - Switch to another User

Add Avast to Google Chrome

Gmail Filters Themes from MS Store

Show/Hide Tray Apps

Cortana Spy

Sign Out (2nd method)

Google Chrome Block ads

Spectrum Spam

Change Mouse Pointer Default Apps

Pause Updates

Add Docs & Photos to Start menu
Hide The Edge Internet browser How to change GMAIL password Night Light Settings  Add photo to Profile

Fix Printer Offline

 Add Printer
Add website to Desktop How to Change AOL password Classic Shell   Turn Off Background Apps

Make a System Image Backup

KR Modem
Firefox History Option Fake Amazon Email Change Icon Types Turn off Finish Setup Window Fix how Windows Updates are Delivered The Start menu
Change IE to GC Default Browser Gmail add Contact Show Taskbar Icons Open With another App Turn on Windows Defender Antivirus Windows Service
Install New Edge   Make things Bigger   Desktop Icons Missing Add text to photos 
        Use Windows Media Player LibreOffice Writer-Change Recent Documents
        Private Network Writer change page layout
        Fake Lockup AAA ID Protect
          Microsoft Office
          Change Facebook Password
Android Phones & Tablets
Google Lens          

Below are screen shots & instructions on how to customize your PC computer. Above are links to go directly to an item. Please email me if you have any questions. This is how I help my customers when they have trouble on their computers. I create screen shots & email them instructions on how to fix issues on their computers. I give FREE email support to my customers. 


The taskbar is the bar at the bottom of the window. It holds the Start menu in the bottom left & the Notification area with date & time in the bottom right. It is also a great place to place shortcuts to the programs that you use everyday.


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  Taskbar Moved: What to do when the Taskbar is in the wrong position. Click & hold the taskbar then drag & drop it to the bottom window. Then right click on the taskbar & left click on the option to Lock the taskbar.

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Pin to Taskbar:

Right click on an icon in the Start menu the left click on Pin to Taskbar.

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How to add text to photos using Microsoft Paint:

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How to change your Home Page in Internet Explorer:

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How to upgrade to Windows 10 - Click here




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Free Word: I found this new option to paying for Office on your new computer. Click on the link below to check it out. This is a free version of Word. The only catch is the program does not install on your computer. It runs in your Microsoft Account on the Microsoft server. This is also a great option if you want to learn how to use the newest version of Word, without paying for it. They also offer Excel & PowerPoint.

When the webpage loads you are given the option to log in with your current Microsoft Account. If you have Windows 8 on your computer then chances are you already have a Microsoft Account. Just sign in with your email address & Microsoft Acct password.

 If you do not have a Microsoft Account then you will need to create one.

When you log in the window above gives you 3 options. To try out the program, click on Blank Document option.

The program gives you the basic features. The paid version has all the bells & whistles, but most users never use half of these features.

If you want to print, click on the File menu & then click on Print. This creates a temporary PDF file. Click on the Click here text & then your printer properties window opens with the option to print the document. Then close the window & go back to main document.

When you are done with your document you can save a copy to your computer. Click on the File Menu. Then click on Save As & then click on the Download option.

See directions below to save the document to your computer. When you are done, log off & close the Internet Browser. To make it easier to return, add word to your Favorites menu.

Click here, then create a Microsoft Account, verify your email address & then log in & start using your new program.

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Windows 8.1 - How to switch to a Local account on your computer -

I recommend using a Local account on your PC computer. If your computer is setup using the Microsoft account method, you will need to sign in with a password every time you use your computer. When you setup Windows 8.1 you get the screen below, click on "Sign in without a Microsoft account" to get a local account.

If you missed this option & are now having to put a password in to get into your Windows 8.1 computer, you now have to option to Switch back. Click on the Start menu (Classic Shell) & type in "PC Settings" into the search window or move your mouse to the bottom right corner of the screen & then on the black bar that appears (Charm bar) click on PC Settings. Then click on Users & then click on the "Switch to Local account" button. A new window will appear & ask you to type in your password & then click on the Sign Out button. Then a window will appear asking for you to type in your new User name - enter you first name only. Do not add a password, leave the window empty & click on OK button. Then the colorful screen will appear, click on it. Then click on your name & the desktop will load without a password.

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How to get webmail on your computer using Windows Live Mail email program - If you are using email from the popular email providers (gmail, comcast, road runner, AOL, MSN, etc) you need to open an Internet browser to get your email. From time to time they change the look of the email, forcing you to re-learn how to use it. The companies change the webmail programs so that their ads are more visible, the ads pay for the email & we get it for free. Using a email program like Windows Live Mail, you get the free email without the ads & you decide what the program looks like on your computer. Below are the steps to setup Windows Live Mail, you will need to know your email address & password.

Note: Yahoo Mail charges you monthly if you want to use an email program to access your email.

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How to change your Home Page in the Firefox Internet browser:


If you are using the Firefox Internet browser & would like to change your home page see the instructions below:

The next step is to either type the website you want to use into the Home Page window on the General tab or to go to the website you want to use then click on Tools then Options & then press the Use Current Page button & the website will automatically fill the window. If the page is in your Bookmarks (Favorites) list, then click on the Bookmarks button & then click on the website you would like to use.

When you click on the OK button your change will be saved. Then close the Firefox browser & then open it again to show your home page.

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How to change your Home Page in the Google Chrome browser:



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Change The Edge Home Page

1 - Open Edge then click on 3 dots in top right corner then click on Settings

2 - Scroll down to Home page & then click on A Specific Page. Type in your home page then click on the Save icon. Close the browser then reopen it & you will be all set. If you are using the New version of the Edge (to be released in the Spring 2020) then follow the Google Chrome Change Home page link (the new Edge is using the same Settings widows as Google Chrome is).

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How to Import Photos to Computer (applies to Digital Camera, Smart Phone & Tablet)

Windows 8 users, Open Windows Photo Gallery first then click on the Import button.

Click on your Camera, smart phone or tablet icon then click on the Import button

Option 1 - Pick which photos you want to import

Option 2 - Import all new items (all new photos on device)

You can create a new folder (called Tags) by typing in a name in the window

Very important - do NOT choose the 'erase after importing' option. A glitch may delete the photos in both locations. Always leave this option off. You can manually delete the photos later on from your device after the images have been safely imported into your computer.

Photos are then Imported & displayed in the Photo Gallery. If you are done, turn off your camera then pull out the cables & store them safely away for the next time.

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PC & Mac - Gmail Less Secure Apps - turned off

If you use Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, Windows Live Mail, Mac iMail or any email program on your tablet or phone, you may have received a strange message during the past few days saying "the server has rejected access" to your email. Google has created a new setting that blocks access by any non-google email program. The only way to get the email back on your device is to turn on the less secure access option. To fix it go to this website -

Click on Sign in and Security. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on a white slider, and slide to the left. You will get a message saying that this setting has been turned on. Close all the open windows, and try to get email again on your device, this should work. Note, you only need to make this change if your email program has stopped working. If you have not had any issues, do not make the above change.

Click here for more information.

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How to install Google Chrome Internet browser the safe way

1 - In your administrator account open Internet Explorer
2 - Go to (type this address into the top window, press enter)
3 - In top right of page click on 9 black boxes to open the menu

4 - Then Click on the word "More" at the bottom of the menu

5 - Click on the words "Even more from Google" at the bottom of the menu

6 - Click on Google Chrome link on the next page

7 - Click on the blue "Download Chrome" button

The program will then download & install (Click on Yes when the User Account Control window appears).

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Screen Orientation

If your computer screen suddenly appears sideways or upside down then you may have accidentally changed the orientation by pressing the Ctrl + ALT+ & Arrow keys.

To fix you can try to press the CRTL key & ALT key on your keyboard & then tap the down arrow key. If the view changes back to the normal landscape you are all set. Keep tapping the arrow key until the screen is correct. The other method is to right click on the Desktop then left click on Screen Resolution. Then click on the Screen Orientation menu & choose Landscape. Then click on Apply to save your selection. You should be all set.


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Free Office Programs - Below are the three most common programs. If you do some basic tasks such as writing letters, printing labels and envelopes these programs may be what you have been looking for. If you purchase Microsoft office it may cost you big bucks depending on the version you purchase. Below are screen shots of how to do some basic tasks with these programs, which may help you decide on which one to choose. I have been installing the Open Office for years but I have just installed the Libre office program on my computer & I prefer the look of the icons on this program over Open Office. Please contact me if you have any questions about these programs.

Open Office 

When installing the program you can either install everything or you can pick what to install. I usually only install the Word, Excel & Power Point programs.

Then next screen you can set these programs to be default. If you are emailed a document then Open Office will then open that document automatically.

How to Export a file as a PDF:

PDF files are opened with Adobe Reader which is on most computers, tablets & smart phones.

How to print an Envelope:

How to print labels:

Free Office Programs - WPS Office

Export PDF:

Print Envelopes:

How to print labels:

Free Office Programs - Libre office

Export PDF:

Print Envelopes:

Print Labels:

How to print from Yahoo email

Do not use File then Print, this will chop your email in half. Yahoo has a Table of Contents (Inbox and other folders) on the left side of the page which pushes your email to the right. When you click on More then click on Print the email opens in a new window without the table of content and the ads. This method will save you ink usage and print your email at 100%.


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Change Mouse Pointer to black

By default the mouse pointer is small and white, which makes it difficult to find since most windows backgrounds are white. I recommend "Windows Black Large". Go to the Control Panel then scroll down and open "Mouse". Then click on "Pointers" then click on the menu and chose a different color and size. Make sure to click on the Apply button to save your change then click on OK. The mouse turns to your selection as soon as you click on the Apply button. Then close the Control Panel. 


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Gmail - Create Mailing Lists (Groups)

Click on the word Gmail (red type) in top left corner of your webmail gmail account then click on Contacts what it appears from the menu. Your contact list will then appear.

Scroll down & click on New Group

Give your Group/List a Name (ie Poker, Golf, ect.) then click on Create Group button.

Now click on the red button to add people to your new group. Email addresses that are already in your Master list will appear when you start typing. Fill in the Name & email addresses.

Your new group will appear in your list. When you write a new email click in the BCC window then type the name of you group and everyone in that group will get a copy of this email when you click on the Send button. When sending group emails please remember to blind carbon copy the people in your group, this protects everyone's email addresses (hides them).


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Print from AOL email

When using AOL webmail email do not use the File/Print method. If you do your email will get chopped off. AOl webmail email has a Table of Contents (Inbox and other folders) on the left side of the page which pushes your email to the right. When you click on More then click on Print the email opens in a new window without the table of content and the ads. This method will save you ink usage and print your email at 100%.

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Microsoft Office Word Basic Tasks Websites

Word 2010 - click here

Word 2013 - click here

Word Newer Versions - click here


Microsoft Office Excel Basic Tasks Websites

Excel All Versions - click here


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Kings Ridge Community new Internet Provider is using iPhotonix modems. Click here for the manual on how to change the settings. You must be skilled to make any of these changes, the interface is not easy. The Default IP is

If this IP does not work then run cmd as admin then type in ipconfig & press enter.

Default Gateway is the IP number to enter into the browser window.

Login ID - admin

Password - (serial number of bottom of modem, starts with IPHOxxxxxxxx)

To change your Wireless Network Name & Password click on Wifi at top of window.

Be careful of making changes.

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Import Settings into Thunderbird: If you are changing from Windows Live Mail to Thunderbird below are the steps you can do to move your imap & smtp settings which will save you from having to look up these settings from a website. You need to install Thunderbird on your computer prior to following the steps below.

Click on Next then you are all set.

Import Address book from Live Mail

Open Live Mail then click on Contacts then click on Export from the toolbar then click on the first option Comma Separated (csv)

Type the word Contacts in the window then click on Browse button & save the address book to your Desktop.

Open Thunderbird & click on Tools then Import then in the next window click on Address Books then click on Next button

Then choose the Text file as the type to import. Then click on the Next button.

Then find the csv contacts file you saved on your desktop. You will need to change the file type to Comma Separated in order to see your file. Click on the file in the window then click on the OK button & your Address book will be imported into Thunderbird. 

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Put a website on your Desktop


This comes in handy for gmail or aol email. Once the shortcut is on your desktop then you just double click on it to go directly to that website. I recommend not to put more then 5 websites on your desktop.

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Fix the dreaded Printer is Offline Error

If you are given the option to Keep the driver already installed or Install a new Driver, pick the top (Recommended) option.

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How to Import Favorites from another Internet browser into Firefox browser

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Add Avast Online Security to Google Chrome Browser

This is a free tool that helps you stay safe on the Internet. One of the best features is the green check marks next to websites that are safe to visit see below). Dangerous websites will have an orange dot warning you not to visit.

This tool also prevents fake websites from loading (phishing scams), Blocks ads from loading on some websites (you will just get a white window), Site Correct - if you have a typo in your search it will redirect you to the correct website.

To install follow the directions below.

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If you need to change you AOL email password follow the steps below.

Open your Internet browser (Firefox, Google Chrome, Edge, etc).

Then click on your name in the top right if you are already signed into your aol account. If you are not signed in then you will be prompted to enter your email address & then your current email password. 

Once logged in click on Account security then click on Change password. Then follow directions to change your password. Make sure that you right down your password in your password book. Include the date that you changed it. If you have text services on your phone I recommend that you also click on Add recovery phone number to be used if you ever get locked out of your aol email account.

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If you use gmail email here are the steps to take to change your email password.

Open your Internet browser then go to this website -

Then click on the word gmail in the top right. If you are not signed in the you will be prompted to type in your email address then your current password.

When the email loads click on the letter in the top right corner (my name is Joe so the letter is a J). Then click on the blue My Account button.

Then click on Signing in to Google link.

Type in your current password then click on Next

Then type in your new password twice. Click on this icon to show your password as you type it into the windows. This will change *** to type so you can see what you are typing.

Make sure you write down your new password into your password book. You may be prompted to sign in on your computer, smart phone & tablet after you change your gmail password.

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If your email address ends in then you are using Spectrum email. In the Fall of 2019 all of my were slammed with spam. I have noticed the same exact emails showing up on my clients computers, tablets & smarts throughout Lake County, Fl. Its clear now that Spectrum is a victim of a huge spam attack.

The following steps have helped me to trim back on the level of spam arriving on my devices by blocking it on the Spectrum webmail email server.

Step 1 - go to this website ( & sign in with your email address & email password. 

Step 2 - Put a check in the box for every email that you do not want in your inbox. Do this in small groups, 10 at a time.

Step 3 - After you selected 10 emails, click on the Mark as button then click on Block sender from the menu.

Step 4 - Click on the blue Block button. You will then get a message at the top of the window that the emails were added to the block list.

Step 5 - While you 10 emails are still selected (check mark in the box) click on the Mark as button again then click on the Spam text in the menu. 

Step 6 - Then click on the Blue Yes button to mark these emails as spam. Then these emails will be moved to your Spam folder.

Step 7 - Then click on your Spam folder on the left side of the window. Put a check in the top box which will then put a check in all the boxes in the spam folder. Then click on the Delete button at the top.

Final step - Click on the Purge All button which will delete these emails off the Spectrum email server. These steps will then sync with your computers, tablets & smart phones & the bad guys emails will be history. 

If the above steps are too much, another option is to stop using your Spectrum email & switch to another email provider (gmail, aol, yahoo, etc.)


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