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These are my current Top Ten Tips for Windows users …


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Secure Internet Details


In the light of recent problems that a customer has experienced, and which was exceedingly difficult to fix after the event,
~ and we were actually very fortunate in being able to safely rectify; I feel everyone ought to be made aware of a pitfall when using the Internet to enter personal details of ANY kind, such as login usernames/ID’s, passwords, addresses, credit/debit card details etc.


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To clarify this, you may well have noticed at the top of your Internet browser that some web page addresses start with HTTP://  and some start with HTTPS://  

The ‘HTTP’ is an abbreviation for “Hyper Text Transport Protocol”, which is the communication method between a web page and your computer.


However, the ‘S’ stands for ‘Secured’ which means that the communication data is encrypted.

This is so that no one else (or their hacking programme) can ‘eavesdrop’ on your computer's conversation with the website, and therefore cannot then steal your details.




You are strongly advised NOT to enter personal details of ANY kind on a web page

with an address that only starts with HTTP://


When entering personal details, ALWAYS check that the page address starts with HTTPS://                                                        
 ~ if it doesn’t, then DO NOT enter any details,  even if the web page looks to be genuine !


If you already know about this, then good, but I feel it is worth repeating.


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Recover Browser Tabs


If you are like me, when using an Internet Browser you can have multiple tabs open at once, so you can all too easily close the wrong one.    


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This can be very annoying because sometimes you don’t remember, or actually didn't know the URL address that was open in the first place.


The good news is just about every modern internet browser has the ability to recover tabs !


for         'Microsoft Internet Explorer'   
or          'Google Chrome'    
or          'Mozilla Firefox'      ... just  hold down 'CTRL' & 'SHIFT', then press 'T'.

… for    'Apple Safari'           ... just  hold down 'CTRL', then press 'Z'  (… Apple just had to  be different didn't they !)


... and hey presto !  – the tab you just closed is restored.  Smile


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Window Handling on Your PC


You will already know that when you want to move a partial-screen window to a different part of your  monitor screen, you would 'click and drag' the top title bar, then release it when you have it in the position you want;  and you also very probably know about handling windows on your screen using the 'minimise', 'restore', 'maximise', and 'close' buttons on the top right hand edge of each Window.  


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... but did you know there are other, sometimes quicker, ways to 'maximise; or 'restore' and 'close' a window ?


•   To 'maximise' a partial-screen window, all you have to do is double click in any free area of the title bar at the top of the window.

•   To 'restore' it back to the previous size and position, just double click the top title bar again.

•   To 'close' a window when your hand is not on, or near, the mouse/mousepad, just hold down the 'ALT' key and press 'F4', to close the currently active window.

•   There is also a lesser-known feature included in most versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8 (but NOT in older versions of Windows), which offers a unique way to minimise all your open windows on the screen, EXCEPT the one that you want to work with – it is officially called Aero Shake.                                                                                                                                        
All you need to do is the same as if you are going to move the window, 'click and drag' the top title bar, – but  instead, whilst still holding it, 
SHAKE it a few times,  and as if by magic, all the other windows minimise, just leaving the one you shook !

Have you ever had too many windows open all at once and then needed to check an icon on your desktop, but your open windows are covering everything up ?                                                                                                                                                             
Just hold down the ‘Windows logo’ key (sometimes marked ‘start’), then press the ‘D’ key … 
ALL the windows will then 'minimise' to the task bar, to show your desktop !                                                                                                                                       
To immediately reverse the action, hold down the ‘Windows logo’ key again, then press the ‘D’ key again – and then they ALL return to where they were originally.


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Mouse ‘Secrets’


…  not really secrets, just less well known, but they help you exploit the mouse potential and increase your efficiency ...


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•   Hold down the ‘SHIFT’ key while dragging the mouse cursor (or using the cursor keys) allows you to highlight portions of text, but it can also be used slightly differently …
Just place the cursor at the beginning of a paragraph, hold down the ‘SHIFT’ key and click at the end of the paragraph to highlight the whole paragraph.

•   Similarly with file lists – once one file is highlighted, hold down the ‘SHIFT’ key and click another file to select all files between those files.

•   Hold down the ‘CTRL’ key and clicking to select an additional file to the one(s) already highlighted – repeating this on an already highlighted file de-selects it without losing the others already highlighted.

•   Vertical/column highlighting is possible in most word processors/editors … hold down the ‘ALT’ key while dragging so vertically highlighting text - very useful if you want to change the colour, the font or copy/delete a column.        


Double-Click and Triple-Click Highlighting


•   Any complete word can be selected if you Double-Click the word.

•   To select the whole paragraph Triple-Click on any text in the paragraph.




Scroll Wheel


•   This can be used as a third mouse button – Middle-Clicking links open it in a new tab – Middle-Clicking any open tab closes that tab.

•   Hold down the ‘CTRL’ key while scrolling on a web page, document, spreadsheet, etc. will zoom in and out.

•   Hold down the ‘SHIFT’ key while scrolling in an Internet browser goes backwards or forwards between pages you have visited. (just as if you clicked the forward or back arrows)

•   Just Middle-Clicking on some text or web page shows an up/down arrow symbol; moving the cursor up or down then Auto-Scrolls the window at a speed according to the distance you move the cursor away from that original click position – if you move it a long way, it will scroll at high speed – useful to zap to the start or end of a large file/web page.      
To stop it scrolling just click any button


Right-Click Context Menu


If you right-click a file/text in most windows, you will see a context menu appear adjacent to the cursor with options that will vary according to what you are doing, and very often provides a quick way to select an action that you very probably want to do – try it and see !


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Google ‘Tricks’


Many people are unaware that the normal search box at  can do some really useful stuff …



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You don’t need to find a real or online dictionary - you can get the definition of a word by simply typing define followed by the word to get a definition. (it also gives you other links for the word too, in the usual Google fashion    )
For example, typing:     define google  would usually display as the top item :




Find Local Weather and Movies

Type  weather  or  movies  followed by a post code or city/town to display current weather conditions or movies in your area.
For example, typing:     weather potton    gives you the current weather conditions and the next few days for Potton.

                … or typing:     movies bedford    would give you a link for show times for movies in that area.


                                          potton        movies

                                                                                                               … click the specific movie for even more info



You can translate a document or a full web page, or search results by using the built-in Google Language Tools, but often an easier way is to simply type translate followed by the languages and the phrase.

For example, typing:     translate english to french “i love you"   or   translate turkish to english "seni seviyorum"  gives :-


                                             french     heart     turkish 


Find PDF Results Only

A lot of the really useful online documents are in pdf format, and you can search for just these, so this is a great way to find online manuals for your equipment/car etc.    
For example, typing:     "meriva manual" filetype:pdf    will show links for a Driver’s manual for a Vauxhall Meriva – you just have to choose which link to read or download according to the model.



You can use the search box as a calculator by typing an equation.

For example, typing:     37 * 6.31   or   sqrt 137   would display results on a calculator display with keyboard.


  37        137


Units Converter

You can use the search box as a converter for lots of many different measures.

For example, typing:     60 litres in gallons   would display results on a units converter with other options



… try it and see !


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We Advise You NOT to Buy These … ( but you draw your own conclusions ! )


These are my ‘Top-10’ Advanced Electronic Products that I advise you NOT to buy, because they are impractical to repair and expensive due to many hours labour & expensive parts !




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10 - Apple iPod Touch (5th Generation) – MP3 Player                    price range new from ~ £ 180


      And this why …        Internal clips and adhesive (with no external screws) make it very difficult to open the case.
Once inside, several components are soldered into only two main assemblies, which increases the cost of replacement for any individual part.

Pyghtle PC  Repair-ability Score                3/10




9 - Nikon D600 24.3-MP – Digital SLR Camera                                   price range new from ~ £ 1100


      And this why …        Similar to the D5100 (below) the components are very densely packed, and some significant de-soldering is required for disassembly.
Additionally, the LCD is fused to the rear case and cannot be replaced without swapping the entire back of the body.

Pyghtle PC  Repair-ability Score                2/10




8 - Nikon D5100 16.2-MP – Digital SLR Camera                                 price range new from ~ £ 330


      And this why …        Disassembly requires de-soldering several components and removing ‘lots’ of screws.
Components are densely packed into the device, complicating repairs Digital SLR Camera.

Pyghtle PC  Repair-ability Score                2/10




7 - Apple iPad with Retina Display – Tablet                                        price range new from ~ £ 340


      And this why …        Just like in second and third generation iPads, loads of adhesive secure the screen and battery to the case.
This makes it difficult to open the device for repairs, and especially difficult to remove the battery to install a replacement.

Pyghtle PC  Repair-ability Score                2/10




6 - Apple iPad mini – Tablet                                                                    price range new from ~ £ 210


       And this why …       Components are held in place with either copious amounts of adhesive or tape, or incredibly tiny and easy-to-lose screws.
Especially annoying, the lighting connector is soldered to the logic board in such a way that broken connector pins mean replacing the entire assembly.

Pyghtle PC  Repair-ability Score                2/10




5 - Apple iPod shuffle 2GB (4th Generation) – MP3 Player            price range new from ~ £ 23


       And this why …       Because of the small scale and construction, it's impossible to open this device without destroying it.
Additionally, the battery is soldered to the logic board, increasing repair difficulty.

Pyghtle PC  Repair-ability Score                 1½/10




4 - Apple MacBook Pro 13.3" Retina – Laptop                                  price range new from ~ £ 880


       And this why …       Slightly better than its 15" predecessor, the MacBook Pro Retina 13" still features a glued-in battery, proprietary (weird) screws and SSD, and soldered-in RAM.

Pyghtle PC  Repair-ability Score                 1½/10




3 - Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet – Laptop/Tablet Hybrid                price range new from ~ £ 640


       And this why …       The Surface Pro's display assembly is incredibly hard to remove, sealed in place with copious adhesive.
Once you have the cover removed, there are more than 90 screws inside to keep you from the rest of the components.

Pyghtle PC  Repair-ability Score                 1/10




2 – HTC One – Smartphone                                                                     price range new from ~ £ 150


       And this why …       This phone is very difficult, if not impossible, to open without virtually destroying the rear case.
Even if you can get it open, the battery is buried beneath the motherboard and adhered to the mid-frame, and incredibly difficult to replace.

Pyghtle PC  Repair-ability Score                 ½/10




… and finally the current number 1 is …


 –– Apple MacBook Pro 15" Retina – Laptop                                     price range new from ~ £ 1800


       And this why …       Proprietary ‘pentalobe’ screws, soldered and non-upgradeable RAM, a proprietary SSD, and a glued-in battery make this the acknowledged least repairable laptop !

Pyghtle PC  Repair-ability Score:               0/10

 – and there may well be others that I don’t yet know of  – watch this space




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Best PC Ergonomics … ( for your Health )      


Pedantic – YES, but very sound advice if you are at your PC more than an hour or so a day



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Care About the Chair
Proper posture is crucial to ergonomic success.
Keep your feet on the floor, arms parallel with the desk, head up, and back straight, invest in a quality office chair.
If you have short legs or a tall workstation, seriously consider pairing your chair with a footrest.


Get Rid of Glare
When ambient light hits your monitor screen, it produces lots of eye-straining glare.
To cut down on the damage, dim the overhead lights and install a desk lamp.
Also, avoid positioning your screen in front of an uncovered window; instead, place your monitor perpendicular to the window and use blinds or curtains to cut down on outside light.




Perfect Your Peripherals
The battle against carpal tunnel syndrome begins with an adjustable keyboard and an ergonomically friendly mouse.
Also crucial is your peripheral positioning:  place your keyboard directly in front of you at a height that keeps your forearms parallel with the floor.
Your mouse should be to the left or the right of the keyboard, but no more than a few inches away.


Take Stretch Breaks
No matter how ergonomically awesome your workstation may be, your body still needs regular breaks from all that sitting, typing, staring, and ‘mouse’ing.


Position Your Monitor
A correctly positioned monitor leads to better productivity.
Make sure your display is directly in front of you, not off to one side.
Raise the screen so the top edge is roughly at eye level, and then tilt the display upward so you're not craning to see the bottom of the screen.
Finally, position the monitor an arm's length away from your head.


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Foil Email Viruses and Get Good Protection


Many people have been ‘attacked’ by email viruses that hijack their address book, then send junk or fraudulent email scams to people they know, which are then seen as being sent by the victim of the attack.          


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The best answer is to get a solid and reliable anti-virus software programme – but even these can be bypassed, and most heavyweight programmes will slow your PC to a crawl.

To provide very good protection, without making your PC enter into a ‘slug-mode’, Pyghtle PC recommends using only  Microsoft Security Essentials  for Windows XP, Vista, and 7.                                                                                                        
Windows 8 does not need it because it is already built in as an improved version of Microsoft Defender.

(… it is important to note that earlier versions of Windows Defender do NOT provide the same level of protection)


But, as a final defence against an email virus, you can easily do something which relies on the fact that such viruses are by nature very small pieces of executable code, so are not actually very sophisticated in the way they do things, which means they can be foiled by simple means.


All you have to do is create a couple of ‘impossible’ email addresses.


… The trick is to use characters that alpha-numerically are parsed first or last, then place both of them in your address book and each address group folder as well, so it doesn’t matter which end of the list it sees first.


I recommend using “!!!0000” and “ZZZ!!!0000” with NO other data entered … except maybe for a suffix to remind you NOT to delete it !


What happens is that the virus looks in what it believes is the only address book and finding either of these entries, then deems it as an invalid address and the end of the list, so gives up – thus no hijacked emails are sent.


… in Outlook the entries should look like this :



This is not fool-proof of course, but has been shown to be very effective.


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Windows Keystroke Combinations 


Quickly look at your files …


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•   To quickly open the file explorer window :           hold down the ‘Windows logo’ key then press the ‘E’ key
– to see your folders and files

•   To quickly open the file search window :              hold down the ‘Windows logo’ key then press the ‘F’ key
–  to search your PC for that file you 'lost', or forgot which folder you put it in !


However, there are 4 very common useful keyboard shortcuts that work in almost all other programmes on your PC …

•   hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key then press the ‘C’ key
– this copies whatever is currently highlighted to the clipboard for later use

•   hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key then press the ‘X’ key
– this copies then deletes whatever is highlighted to the clipboard for later use

•   hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key then press the ‘V’ key
– this pastes what is in the clipboard into your file where your cursor is

•   hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key then press the ‘A’ key
– this highlights everything in the file or window


If editing files within the  Microsoft OFFICE  programmes, which a lot of you will have installed on your PC …

•   hold down the ‘CTRL’ key then press the ‘S’ key – this saves your file to your disk

•   hold down the ‘CTRL’ key then press the ‘P’ key – this prints your file to the currently selected printer

•   hold down the ‘CTRL’ key then press the ‘F’ key – this opens the Find dialogue, to search the file for a specific word

•   hold down the ‘CTRL’ key then press the ‘Z’ key – this undo’s the previous editing action – you can use this many times


In WORD an especially nice one that I like is when you re-open a previously saved file :

•   hold down the ‘SHIFT’ key then press the ‘F5’ key – this takes you instantly to where you last typed !


If you are an EXCEL user then other really useful shortcuts are :

•   hold down the ‘CTRL’ key then press the   ‘Home’  key – this takes you back to top left corner of your worksheet

•   hold down the ‘CTRL’ key then press the      ‘End’     key – this takes you to the furthermost used cell

•   hold down the ‘CTRL’ key then press the        ‘;’        key – this inserts the current date in the currently selected cell



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Use the Internet to Save Money


We all know  that there are premium rate phone numbers that we sometimes ‘have to’ call to sort out a problem or enquiry.

They include, but are not limited to :  0842, 0843, 0844, 0845, 0870, 0871, 0872, 0873, 0891, 0897, 0898, 09xx, as well as 0660 and 0331 – some phone providers charge more than others, and it can cost £’s per minute, or even £1.54 for a few seconds minimum call !


All businesses want you to use the premium rate line, for obvious reasons – but they also have an ‘ordinary’ land-line too that they don’t want to tell you about !









My phone provider deal gives me free calls to ‘ordinary’ land-lines, so I use the Internet to avoid the premium rate numbers.


… So how do you find out the correct number ?


Easy – just log on to:   WWW.SAYNOTO0870.COM/search.php  … enter the number, and click the ‘search’ button.

You can even search for the company name instead.


This also works for 0800 and 0808 which are usually free to land-lines, but very often charged by mobile phone providers, so if you wish to use a mobile phone with inclusive calls, then you can avoid even that charge.







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