Bob’s Corner: 5 privacy settings to change in Windows 10

Below is an interesting article from CNET that I came across.  It identifies settings in WIN10 that help keep your information private – from not letting Cortana “get to know you,” to turning off your advertising ID.

Taking back the operating system, one privacy setting at a time…

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal mugshot  by  October 13, 201612:10 PM PDT

Windows 10 is running on over 400 million devices, but it still has all sorts of privacy issues — including mandatory diagnostic and usage data reporting to Microsoft, and a troubling amount of ads sprinkled throughout the platform.

Not all of Windows 10’s problems can be fixed, but there are some things you can do to reclaim your privacy. Here are five privacy-related settings you can change for a less invasive and more secure Windows 10 experience.

Stop Cortana from getting to know you

In order for Cortana to be the best virtual personal assistant ever, she’ll ask you early on if she can “get to know you” through the way you interact with your device — namely, your speech, handwriting and typing patterns. The “getting to know you” feature also allows Windows 10 to collect other information about you, including your calendar, contacts, location and browsing history, according to Microsoft’s privacy statement.

You can stop Cortana from “getting to know you.” If you do this, you will not be able to use voice dictation to speak to Cortana, and all personal information that Cortana has collected will be cleared.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

To turn this off, open the Settings menu and go to Speech, inking, & typing. Under Getting to know you, click Stop getting to know me. This will turn off dictation and will clear any collected information from your device. You can also clear your collected information from Cortana’s settings menu, underChange what Cortana knows about me in the cloud.

Turn off your location

If you’re using a mobile device, such as a tablet or a laptop, there are plenty of times when allowing Windows 10 and third-party apps to access your location is convenient. But that doesn’t mean that you should leave your location switched on at all times. When your location is switched on, Windows 10 stores your device’s location history for up to 24 hours and allows apps with location permission to access that data.

If you turn your location off, apps that use your location (such as the Maps app) will not be able to find you. However, you can manually set a default location that apps can use as a stand-in.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

To turn off your location, open the Settings menu and go to Location . You can either turn off location for all users (under Location for this device is on > Change ), or you can turn off location services for your account (under Location service). In this menu, you can also clear your Location history , and allow certain apps to see (or not see) your exact location. Apps in the location list will have a note if they use location history data.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET


To quickly toggle your location services on and off, open the Action center; the Location switch will be in the quick settings (possibly below the break).

Stop syncing

There’s a lot of syncing going on in Windows 10. If you sign in with a Microsoft account, your settings — including passwords — may be synced across other devices you sign into with the same account. Your notifications may also be synced across devices.

If you turn off syncing, your settings and passwords will not be synced across other devices when you sign in with your Microsoft account (so you’ll need to do things like enter passwords in manually).

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

To turn off settings syncing, open the Settings menu and go to Accounts > Sync your settings. You can either turn off all setting syncing at once, or you can toggle individual sync settings off.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

To turn off notification syncing, open Cortana and go to Settings > Send notifications between devices. You can turn this off to turn off all notifications syncing, and you can also click Edit sync settings to manage your different signed-in devices.

Lock down your lock screen

The lock screen is the first thing anyone sees when they open up your device, and this screen can have a lot of information that you might not want strangers to access.

Here are three things you need to do to lock down your lock and log-in screens:

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Make sure your notifications aren’t appearing on the lock screen. Open the Settings menu and go toSystem > Notifications & actions and turn off Show notifications on the lock screen. The downside to turning this feature off is that you won’t be able to see any notifications until you unlock your device.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Turn off Cortana on the lock screen by opening Cortana and going to Settings > Use Cortana even when my device is locked. The downside to turning this feature off is that you won’t be able to use Cortana while your device is locked.

You can also limit her scope on the lock screen (instead of turning her off completely) by unchecking the box next to Let Cortana access my calendar, email, messages and Power BI when my device is locked. This way, you’ll still be able to ask Cortana to answer questions that don’t reveal any personal information while your device is locked.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Hide your email address on the log-in screen by opening the Settings menu and going to Accounts > Sign-in options > Privacy. Turn off the toggle under Show account details (e.g. email address) on sign-in screen. There’s pretty much no downside to turning this feature off, unless you really like seeing your email address.

Turn off your advertising ID

Each Microsoft account has a unique advertising ID that lets Microsoft collect information about you and deliver a personalized ad experience across platforms. If you sign into Windows 10 with a Microsoft account, those personalized ads will follow you onto your computer — you’ll see them in apps and possibly in the operating system itself (e.g., in the Start menu).

To turn these ads off in Windows 10, open the Settings menu and go to Privacy > General > Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps (turning this off will reset your ID) and turn this off. You’ll still see ads, but they won’t be personalized to your tastes and preferences.

Turning this feature off will prevent personalized ads from popping up in your Windows 10 experience, but won’t necessarily keep you from seeing personalized ads when you’re using your Microsoft account on other platforms. To get rid of ads on other platforms, such as in browsers, head to Microsoft’s advertising opt-out page.

Bob’s Corner: A Custom Built PC – Why it’s Better!

You hear about all the deals you can get at the box stores like Best Buy, Sam’s Club, and etc.

Are those deals the best fit for your computing needs? Maybe not!!

When your purchase a computer from one of the box stores it will have a lot of software preinstalled for which software vendors have paid a premium to be included and advertise to you. The operating system may not be compatible with your needs, and especially not so if you use the PC for business purposes.   When you unbox the PC, you’ll have to wait and process the many operating system, anti-virus and driver updates that have been released since the manufacturer put it into that box.

The hardware components are chosen to meet a price point rather than for their quality. Many of the brands have proprietary parts that are not conveniently or economically replaced.  If you run into problems down the road, you’ll be stuck on the phone with a support department from who knows where.  For hardware repairs, you’ll be packing and shipping that PC and waiting weeks for its return.  Alternatively you’ll be dropping it off at the service desk at that box store where technicians are trained to wipe your data and reload the operating system rather than taking care to save your data and settings.


When you purchase an ACT System Custom Built PC you can be assured it will meet all of your current needs and be expandable into the future. We will customize the system to the processing speed, size of hard drive, network connection, and video card (for video, gaming, or to support multiple monitors).  We’ll help you choose the most appropriate operating system for the programs you wish to run, and help you choose the best anti-virus program (many are free).   When you get home and turn your computer on, you’ll not be distracted by advertising bloatware.  Your PC will be ready to use with all system updates as current as possible, and you’ll be able to get down to serious computing.

One of the best things about purchasing from Answer Computer is that you get personal service and you know exactly who you are dealing with. In the future, if you have a problem you don’t have to be on the phone for hours to trouble shoot your problem.  You call us and we work to solve your issue as quickly as possible.  In the event that hardware needs to be replaced we carry parts right here at our local shop.  We make every effort to save your data and settings, and we can get you up and running quickly.


If you’re looking for a new system whether you are a business, home user, or a gamer, we’re here to help you design a system that respects your budget and meets your needs now and into the future.

Stop in or give us a call at 412-429-3230.

Bob’s Corner: Playing a DVD! @#$%^ Frustrating in Windows 10

Windows PCs can no longer play DVDs without help. Windows 10, like Windows 8 and 8.1 before it, lacks the necessary software. 

So to solve this problem Microsoft will be glad to sell you their Windows DVD Player app that you can buy for $14.99.  OR you download an app that I use VideoLAN’s VLC Media player.  VLC Media player is an open source software that includes support for playing DVD’s.  The best part is, it’s FREE.  I loaded it on Bob’s tablet and know he can enjoy his movies again.  This is a free and easy path to DVD playing in Windows 10. Thanks to Microsoft for the $15 app, but no thanks.

Thank you tech Robert!

If you find yourself getting annoyed with Windows 10 and find yourself saying, “I was able to do that in my previous version of Windows”, give us a call and let us help you or just stop in.  We would love to see you!

 See you next time on Bob’s Corner Blog


Bob’s Corner: Veteran’s Heart Surgery Inspires Pillow Campaign

We wanted to share with you an article from the

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on VA Pittsburgh HealthCare Systems.

This is about  a Friend  of ours that organized a special fundraiser. 

Thank you Jim Evans! smiley face


Jim Evans organized a fundraiser to purchase hundreds of therapeutic, heart-shaped pillows for VA Pittsburgh’s heart surgery patients.

By Liz Zemba Thursday,

August 11, 2016

Jim Evans found a new passion for helping his fellow Veterans while he was recovering from open heart surgery at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

“I have never been so excited about doing anything in my life,” said Evans, 72, who undertook a “Huggable Pillows” fundraiser following his surgery in January. “I have goosebumps.”

Evans raised nearly $7,000 to purchase 400 heart-shaped pillows to be distributed free of charge to Veterans who undergo heart surgery at the health care system’s University Drive campus. VA Pittsburgh performs upwards of 200 heart surgeries annually.

“Anybody who’s ever had open heart surgery will tell you they don’t know how you can do without a pillow to hug,” Evans said.

Following heart surgery, patients are directed to hold a rolled blanket or small pillow against their chests to ease discomfort when coughing or sneezing. The practice helps prevent post-operative complications, said Tim Miller, a physician’s assistant who helped care for Evans.

Evans’ red, heart-shaped pillows feature educational heart diagrams on one side and the message “Huggable Pillows Donated by Veterans & Friends” on the other. They include permanent markers for teaching purposes and autographs.

Miller said the donated, heart-shaped pillows will be given to patients in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit and stay with each patient through discharge. The colorful pillows will complement disposable, therapeutic “cough pillows” VA Pittsburgh is now carrying for surgery patients.

“Here’s something we can do to directly affect the life of a Veteran who has to have open heart surgery.” Jim Evans

Evans, a former Air Force cryptographic technician who served stateside from 1963 to 1967, sought care at VA Pittsburgh when he experienced chest pressure while golfing.

“On the last few holes, I was really struggling, walking,” Evans said. “It was more pressure, not so much pain. Like heartburn.” Evans’ VA cardiologists diagnosed him with severe aortic stenosis—a narrowing of the aortic valve opening—and recommended surgery to replace the valve. Describing the care he received at VA Pittsburgh as “excellent,” Evans said he undertook the heart-pillow campaign to benefit other Veterans who have the same surgery. With the help of American Legion Post 980 in Plum, Evans said he solicited donations via email and through visits to other posts and Veterans groups. In April, Post 980 sponsored a spaghetti-dinner fundraiser that netted $2,300 for the campaign, he said. Evans said numerous groups and individuals have donated because they care about Veterans. “This is people saying, hey, here’s something we can do to directly affect the life of a Veteran who has to have open heart surgery,” Evans said. “This is a way for people to help Veterans, where they know where their money is going.” The heart-shaped pillows “will make a difference for morale and mental well-being,” said Jim Manganaro, another physician’s assistant who works with cardiac patients. “It’s nice to see Veterans looking out for each other,” Manganaro said.

Bob’s Corner: Affordable Laptop Repair in Pittsburgh

 Affordable Laptop Repair in Pittsburgh

laptop repair 1                      2015_1101 Football+Gaming ad

Did you accidentally drop or damage your laptop?

Answer Computer has extensive experience fixing broken laptops.  We have replaced laptop screens, hinges, keyboards, and track pads for many customers in Carnegie, Bridgeville, South Hills, and the entire Pittsburgh area.  We have worked on all major brands, HP, Lenovo, Asus, Dell, and Acer, etc.

Save money – repair rather than replace!

Is it cheaper to repair your laptop or buy a new computer?  Our knowledgeable technicians will help you decide if your computer is worth repairing or not. With our competitive and affordable pricing almost always, the best choice is to repair the computer you already use, own, and love.

If you need laptop repair in Pittsburgh Pa, you can give us a call or just bring your laptop or PC to our shop. We will assess the problem and provide you with the solution needed to repair your laptop or computer.

ANSWER COMPUTER – Your Friendly Neighborhood TechShop!


Bob’s Corner: Only 10 DAYS left for the Free Windows 10 upgrade

That’s right we are getting down to the last few days to take advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10.  Need help give us a call 412.429.3230 or stop in.

Here is an article from PCWORLD on reasons to upgrade to Windows 10.

10 compelling reasons to upgrade to Windows 10

 @BradChacos  Jul 15, 2016 3:00 AM



An offer you shouldn’t refuse

The deadline cometh. July 29 looms, and after that, Windows 7 and 8 users will no longer be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. If you’ve been waiting for Microsoft to polish out the operating system’s initial bugs, it’s time to make the leap.

This article’s more for the fence-sitters—the folks who haven’t decided whether to stick with what they know or embrace Microsoft’s new-school operating system. There are some very valid reasons not to upgrade to Windows 10, to be honest. But Windows 10 is the best Windows yet, and most people should claim the free upgrade while there’s still time.

Here’s why.

win10 minibanner

Bob’s Corner: Only One Month left for the Free Upgrade to Windows 10!

With only 30 days left to get your free upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft has changed there approach once again for the Windows 10 install Request Window.

If you are seriously looking to go to Windows 10 and would like some help stop in or give us a call and we can make the transition smooth for you. Below is an article from TECHSPOT on how Microsoft is adjusting its Windows 10 upgrade prompt.

Microsoft is adjusting its Windows 10 upgrade prompt in wake of multiple complaints

By  on 

microsoft, windows 10, terry myerson, windows 10 upgrade

Microsoft set an ambitious goal to achieve one billion Windows 10 installations within three years of its July 2015 launch. As of last month, the Redmond-based company was well on its way to hitting that goal with more than 300 million devices now running its latest operating system although getting to that point hasn’t been without controversy.

At issue is Microsoft’s pushy, under-handed and outright deceptive tactics to try and get users to upgrade their machines to Windows 10. Anyone that has yet to do so is well aware of how annoying the constant pop-up reminders from Microsoft can be.

It was recently discovered that Microsoft had modified its pop-up window in such a manner that clicking the X button to close the pop-up equated to giving Microsoft consent to go ahead with the Windows 10 update. There’s absolutely no excuse for this level of dirty trickery, period.

And lest we forget the fact that this past February, Microsoft made Windows 10 arecommended update rather than an optional update which meant those with automatic updates enabled would get Windows 10 without consent.

After recently losing a court case over the matter, Microsoft has apparently decided to once again modify its update approach.

In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft’s Terry Myerson said that since they introduced a new upgrade experience for Windows 10, they have received feedback that some customers found it confusing. He added that they’ve been working hard to incorporate the feedback (complaints) and this week, they’ll be rollout out a new upgrade experience with clear options to upgrade now, schedule a time or decline the offer.

For once, it’d be nice to see a company rep come out and admit that they screwed up and / or were deceitful. Instead, the blame is passed to the consumer and described as being “confusing.” In what world is clicking the X to close the window ever considered consent?

Bob’s Corner: Windows 10 Free Upgrade Ends July 29th!

It is closing in fast July 29th.  It will be here before you know it.  That is the date Microsoft’s Windows 10 free Upgrade offer ends. 

Are you still debating whether you want to go to Windows 10 or not?  Windows 10 is now on 300 Million Active Devices, and people are liking it. 

Have you thought about upgrading but have hesitated thinking it might be hard to understand or be difficult working with a new operation system?  Did you know you have 30 days after the install to revert back to your original operating system that is of course if your upgrade goes smoothly.  You really want to make sure you have no issues with your PC as it stands before starting the upgrade, and of course that you have a backup of your important data.

Let us help you here at Answer Computers.  We can inspect your system and make sure it is capable of handling Windows 10, prepare it for the install and then we can do the install for you.  If you haven’t been in our shop before, it’s a great opportunity to get to know us, and…. you’ll save all the time and hassle of the upgrade!

Stop in or give us a call 412.429.3230 if you would like us to help you with your upgrade to Windows 10!

Below is a short article from Microsoft about “customer satisfaction” with the new Windows 10

May 5, 2016 7:00 am

Windows 10 Now on 300 Million Active Devices – Free Upgrade Offer to End Soon

By / Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group

As we near the one year anniversary of the availability of Windows 10, we’re excited to share that Windows 10 is now running on 300 million active devices around the world.

We’re pleased to see Windows 10 become one of the largest online services in less than a year. Core to delivering our more personal computing vision, Windows 10 offers experiences that are familiar, safer and more secure, and more personal and productive – enabling innovative new experiences.

We’re seeing people at home, at schools, at small businesses, at large companies, and other organizations adopt Windows 10 faster than ever, and use Windows 10 more than ever before. A few examples:

  • Over 63 billion minutes were spent on Microsoft Edge in March alone, with 50% growth in minutes since the last quarter. Exclusively available on Windows 10, Microsoft Edge is our modern browser for helping you get things done.
  • Cortana, the personal digital assistant in Windows 10, has helped answer over 6 billion questions since launch.
  • People are playing games on Windows 10 more than ever before, with over 9 billion hours of gameplay on Windows 10 since launch.
  • Apps that come with Windows 10, including Photos, Groove Music, and Movies & TV are seeing millions of active users each month, including more than 144 million people using Photos.
  • And, the Windows Store continues to grow daily with new Universal Windows Platform apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger; updated UWP apps from Vine, Hulu, Netflix and Twitter; and popular PC games including Rise of the Tomb Raider and Quantum Break.

These Windows 10 services are getting better and better each month, with significant new innovations shipped in November, and many more coming in the upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary Update this summer. Of course, as part of delivering Windows 10 as a service – any Windows 10 customer can enjoy these innovations – for free.

With the highest customer satisfaction of any version of Windows, we want everyone to enjoy the benefits of Windows 10. We continue to see awesome new Windows 10 devices becoming available – at a price point for everyone. And, today, we want to remind you that if you haven’t taken advantage of the free upgrade offer, now is the time. The free upgrade offer to Windows 10 was a first for Microsoft, helping people upgrade faster than ever before. And time is running out. The free upgrade offer will end on July 29 and we want to make sure you don’t miss out. After July 29th, you’ll be able to continue to get Windows 10 on a new device, or purchase a full version of Windows 10 Home for $119.

If you’ve already upgraded to Windows 10 – thank you. If you haven’t upgraded yet – we hope you’ll consider upgrading today.


Bob’s Corner: Putting YOU in Control of your Windows 10 Update!

How to Control the Windows 10 Upgrade


We here at Answer Computers are seeing that Microsoft is pushing Windows 10 even harder. They have made stopping or blocking the upgrade process much less obvious. Here we will show you how to avoid the update until you are ready. If you look at the image below, you will see that they will indicate a date that your system will upgrade on. If you click OK it will proceed as indicated.

win 10 update

However, if you look very closely under the date you will see there is a hyperlink in the line, “Click here to upgrade or change Schedule or cancel scheduled upgrade.” On that line you will click the word “here”, and see the image below.

But first, let me caution you. DO NOT CLICK THE “X”.  If you click the “X” Microsoft will assume you’re okay to upgrade on the date they have chosen for you.

win 10 choose upgrade

Now you can change the time and date for your upgrade, but you can also CANCEL the scheduled upgrade. Hitting “Cancel the upgrade” will stop it FOR NOW but will NOT STOP Microsoft from sending you these notices which you’ll have to respond to.  You will have many more chances to schedule the upgrade before July 29th.

How can Answer Computer Help You?

Let’s say you have to stay with Windows 7 for special software and work reasons, or you just don’t like Windows 10. We can stop the Windows 10 update from ever happening at all. If you already upgraded to Windows 10, we are able to help you go back to Windows 7 or 8 as long as you haven’t been using Windows 10 for longer than a month after the upgrade. We can also help you make the transition into Windows 10 easy and smooth.

Here are a few quick notes:

  • Always backup important files (Pictures and Documents)
  • When you upgrade your Issues and errors with 7 or 8 don’t go away, so take care of them before you start the upgrade.
  • Not all printers work with Windows 10
  • Make sure your current software will Work
  • If using any Microsoft Office Product Older then Office 2007 you will have to buy new version of Office
  • Not all banking and Utilities sites like Microsoft Edge (The new browser), you can use Internet Explorer instead
  • The last date to get the free Upgrade to Windows 10 is 7/29/2016
  • We can stop the Windows 10 update from ever happening at all.
  • Talk to ANSWER Computers about upgrading your complete office in the most efficient way!


Sounds Complicated? Give Us A Call 412.429.3230 or Stop In!