Getting Familiar with Windows 8.1

Tips&Tricks, Windows

Change can be tough, but change keeps us moving forward. Across the Shoreline campus, faculty, staff, and students will start to see Windows 8.1 replacing older versions of Windows. For those of you who are hesitant about learning this new system, I understand because I was hesitant too. Take a deep breath, set aside time for a couple of tutorials, and soon enough, you won’t even miss Windows 7.

Here are some links to help you familiarize yourself Windows 8.1:

How to Enable Boot to Desktop in Windows 8.1 – This trick will certainly take the edge off of learning Windows 8 by providing a little comfort in familiarity.

Become familiar with the new Start Menu – The new Start Menu is intended to make your life easier, but that’s only true if you take the time to set it up. Learn to Pin Apps and Applications to the Start Menu.

Don’t get confused by the Apps – “Apps” are a new concept that do not act like “Applications.” Trust me, it pays to understand how they work whether you intend to use them or not. For one thing, there is an App and an Application for Internet Explorer and you might find yourself lost in the unfamiliar App.

Check out more of Microsoft tutorials

Backup Your Files


Where are the majority of your files saved? For SCC students who log into campus computers using their student username (usually firstname.lastname), the default save location directs to their profile. These files are stored on a server, which has backups should anything bad happen to the server. For staff, the primary save location should be on a network drive. These files also live on a server that has periodic backups made.

The one place that files should not be saved is the physical hard drive, commonly referred to as the C-drive or C:/. This disk is not backed up, so if something bad happens to the computer, these files could be completely lost.

My personal experience has taught me to also back up my personal/school files just in case I have to access them outside of my usual environment. For this, there are two options:
1. Save files to an online storage location, like Google Drive, DropBox, Evernote, SkyDrive, etc.

  • Benefit: Access files anywhere you have an internet connection.
  • Benefit: Works on a variety of platforms, including phones.
  • Con: Storage limits are typically smaller, and there might be a charge to get a larger storage capacity.

2. Save files to an external drive, like a USB drive or a larger external hard drive.

  • Benefit: You can pick the storage capacity when you buy the device. The storage of USB capacity is constantly increasing and larger storage becomes less expensive.
  • Benefit/Con: The device goes with you where ever you take it. Forgetful types might find this difficult.
  • Con: Things can happen to these physical devices–a magnet could corrupt the files (this can happen if a USB drive is attached to keys!), rain/water could cause damage, and the device could get lost.
Everyone has their personal preference on file management. Just be sure you have a back up system in place when you don’t save to a protected server.

Trouble accessing something saved to a campus server? Contact TSS for help! 

Quickly find Contacts in Outlook

Outlook, Tips&Tricks

This post is for anyone using an Exchange email account and accesses their account through Outlook. Scrolling through the list of all the contacts in Outlook’s Global Address Book can be cumbersome. Here is how you can improve you search for contacts when creating an email.

Step 1: Open the Address Book from a New Message

Step 2: Change Name Only to More Columns
  • Use the Advanced Find to narrow down the list of contacts
Step 3: Type in a partial name, department, location
  • Unlike searching with Name Only, More Columns search will not show any contacts until you type something in the search and hit enter/click Go.
Step 4: Select a contact and then Add to the To/Cc/Bcc lines

  • This step is the same as usual. Select a contact from the list and then click the To/Cc/Bcc line to add the contact.
  • If you have multiple contacts to add in the same area, you can select them all at once and then add them to the line:
    • To select multiple contacts at once, select the first contact, hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard and click on each of the other contacts. Let go of the Ctrl key once you have made your selections, and click whichever To/Cc/Bcc line that is appropriate. 
    • If you have a section of contacts all grouped together in the list, click and drag your cursor over the contacts you want to add. A group of contacts can also be added using a Shift Click: Select first contact, Hold the Shift key, and click on the Last contact in the group.

  • Once the contacts have been added, click ok to finalize addressing your email.

    Browser Toolbars out of Control?

    InternetBasics, Security, Tips&Tricks

    Here is a common conversation I have when helping people with their computers:

    Me: “Wow, you have a lot of toolbars installed. Do you like having those?”
    Them: “No.”
    Me: “Do you know where they came from?”
    Them: “No.”
    Me: “Do you want me to remove those?”
    Them: “Yes, please!”

    If you can relate, roll up your sleeves and lets do some spring cleaning!
    Step 1: Clean up your browsers
    This article shows quite nicely how to remove toolbars from the most prominent browsers. (As of today, these methods worked–keep in mind browsers get updates and instructions might change in the future.)
    Step 2: Don’t install more toolbars
    Where do these toolbars come from? Chances are at some point you installed a program with a toolbar included. Toolbars aren’t always malicious–companies like you to see their name plastered where ever possible. For example, notice that when Yahoo!Messenger is installed, the Yahoo! Toolbar will also be installed: 
    It’s all good if you want to have the toolbars installed. Just be aware of the choices that show up during installation and read through the installation process. Cancel and do some research if wording sounds at all fishy. 
    Step 3: Become more knowledgeable/Dig deeper
    Unfortunately, it is possible that just removing the toolbars isn’t enough. Some toolbars have bad intentions and can slow down the entire system. I found that Enigma Software Group has an extensive list and explanations of malicious toolbars.
    Here is an article that delves deeper into what’s behind malicious toolbars, symptoms you may experience, and preventative actions you can take: Sneak Attack–Those Annoying Toolbars You Never Wanted

    Working with Data in Tables

    Excel, Tips&Tricks
    One of the fastest way to get meaning from data in Excel is to insert a table. Here are some tips for getting started with Excel Tables. These tips will work for the 2007, 2010, and 2013 versions of Excel unless stated otherwise. 
    1) Insert a Table:
    • Select a cell within your data area. Go to the Insert Tab on the Ribbon and select “Table”

    • Aside from the formatting there are two details to take note of:

    2) Use the Table for fast data entry:
    • Normally in Excel, Tab moves the cell selector right and Enter moves the cell selector down. In a Table, Tab moves to the next cell in the Table. In other words, it will move right until the last column in your table, and then it will move down to the first cell in the next row. If you’re at the end of your data set, a new row is automatically added to the Table.

    3) Get instant data analysis by adding a Total Row:
    • For this next part, a cell within your table must be selected. Go to the Table Tools Design Tab. Check the Total Row box. 

    This example is shown in 2013, but you will still see the same option boxes in the previous versions.
    • Add formulas to the Total Row.

    4) Switch a table back to regular cells.
    • Select a cell in your table. From the Table Tools Design Tab, click convert to range.

    Formatting and Total Row stay put, but the other tools from the Table are removed.
    As the Table Tools Design Tab suggests, Excel can do much more with Tables. Check out Microsoft’s Support site more helpful articles and videos. The search feature works rather well if you want help with something specific. For example, type “Excel Tables” or “Excel PivotTables” to continue learning about tables.