Other Devices

I’ve discussed the PCs and laptops as my primary computing devices already. In addition, my wife and I use other devices that technically are computers. We each have a smartphone (same brand and model for minimizing confusion). In addition, I use an old iPad (2nd generation that is maxed out at IOS 9 latest and therefore cannot use the most recent IOS 12), and my wife uses an iPad Mini that just updated to IOS 12.

For years we resisted getting smart phones, because we did not feel the need to have the features they provide when we had two computers for those things. We had basic cellphones. When the batteries were near dead on those old phones, we finally succumbed to the new age and bought Samsung Galaxy 6 phones (not the most current at the time even), but their size was more appealing than the Galaxy 7.

My challenge is to be well enough versed in all the operating systems to do trouble-shooting when necessary.

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Windows 10 Pro

One positive side-effect of having so many computer problems over the last six months is how much I have learned about Windows 10 in the process of trouble-shooting. I’m a little fuzzy on the differences between the Home and Pro versions now, because I have been using Pro exclusively for a couple of months, so I may have to do a little more research on that someday if that becomes important.

As I write this, my current version is:

  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Version: 1803
  • Build: 17134.285
  • x64-based processor

Following are some of the useful things I’ve learned recently:

  • When the most recent major update came out this past April, it made one noticeable, major change that has been a challenge at times to work around. That change was eliminating the Windows Home Group function. In the long run, this will be an improvement, mostly because it is much easier to share a file or folder with others on a network than it used to be and no longer requires a password, but my issue with it as of this date is I cannot consistently share a new whole drive or computer. Fortunately, I have been able to share at the folder and file level, but getting easy access required a work around. After setting up the folder and/or file to be shared with everyone on the network, I manually accessed the folder/file from the other computer then pinned that to Quick Start. So, now I can move files from one computer to another easily. The quirky part of this glitch is somehow Windows 10 treats computers that were part of a Home Group differently than one that was not. For some reason, the desktop (which was setup with a Home Group and password) can be accessed on the network by the laptop, although the C drive (operating system drive) cannot as a drive (folders and files within in are accessible if specifically shared). However, my new laptop which did not have any previous Home Group setup, cannot be accessed by the desktop on the network. That can make sharing a combination of folders and files rather tedious. Each time there is a comprehensive update (as there was today, September 13, 2018), I hope it is fixed, but so far it is not.
  • I have decided for our household uses, having two separate computers not in Windows sync is the best option. We therefore use the local account sign-in option on both computers rather than signing in to my Microsoft account. I am aware we are missing out on some functions as a result, but at this point we have no problem with this approach.
  • Another interesting option in Windows 10 I have now disabled is focus assist. It is supposed to minimize or stop the automatic notifications that come from various sources when you don’t want them interrupting. Having turned off almost all of the app notifications, I found the ones I do want on do not disrupt anything, including during gaming, so I do not have a use for focus assist.
  • By far the most useful feature for gaming is the Windows 10 Gaming Mode. At first, I had this disabled thinking it was only for Microsoft games, but since have learned it is a great way to give priority of computing power to the game and either shutting down or diminishing the focus for background operations. I believe that has helped make Civ VI especially operate more efficiently. I really like the relative ease of use of the Gaming Bar and the fact that once a particular game is turned on, it will automatically be so in the future when you start the game, removing the need to manually turn it on each time you play a game. While I do not use the functions of recording, taking snapshots, etc., the Gaming Bar makes doing so very easy.

 

Most Recent Challenge

The most recent problem had to do with the Windows 10 license. The desktop suddenly started to report the license was about to expire. Interestingly, this is the second time this message showed up on this computer. The first time was several years ago, not long after I upgraded from Windows 7 to 10 taking advantage of the free upgrade Microsoft offered when it was first released. I won’t go into detail right now about the disaster I created soon after upgrading that totally crashed the operating system, but I had to have the shop do a complete reinstall because the reset option did not work for me. A few months later, the license message started to appear so I ended up having to take it in again to get that fixed. I do not know what they did to fix it, but presume they had communication with the Microsoft license folks to get it corrected.

Just a few weeks ago now, when the message appeared again, I called the shop and took it in again. The odd part about it this time was I noticed that it now showed I had Windows 10 Pro when I only had the Home version before. It also said the Pro was installed in early May and I know I did not do that. The guys at the shop were baffled by how that could happen also. After they did what they could to find the original license or product key unsuccessfully, they told me it was actually the Enterprise Pro version. How that got installed is a complete mystery to me. The only solution this time was to buy a completely new key, so I had them do that and activate it. Since then it is now functioning normally again.

What I have learned through this process is there is a difference between a product key and digital license. I asked the shop to give me the new key so I would have it if needed. They did so and they called it the Windows 10 Key. In the Windows 10 Settings it says the product was activated with a digital license. I am hoping never to have to use the key again, but given the strange happenings of late, I’m not betting on that.