Category Archives: Windows

Recap of “Office 365 Grand Rapids” Event

I am really excited to tell you about a cool event I attended recently. Held on Saturday April 1st at Davenport University, it was a free workshop for any attendee who wanted to learn more about Office 365 including Word, Excel, Access, Power BI and more.

The event was organized by Microsoft MVP Andy Tabisz of WorkSmart Database Masters.

Underwritten by sponsors, including Davenport University and WorkSmart, there was no cost to attend and even included lunch.

Without further ado, here are some of my takeaways from this event:



Presented by Amy BabinchakThe Art of Integration: How Do Your Programs Work Together?

  • Skype can really help your business. You can do simultaneous editing in a document during a meeting. You can simply share a document via Skype for someone to view. Even better, the document shared will follow your security policies tied to that document (e.g. hidden content, or sharing within organization only).
  • Don’t be worried about Microsoft support and your data. They can’t see your data at all even when viewing your account to solve technical issues.  The data is blurred out on the screen.
  • Every Office 365 membership has security features that might not be enabled, check your security score to see where you stand.
  • Set up your security so you can see who sees your data in your organization and where they send it.

Presented by Bethann Talsma – How to Give an Effective PowerPoint Presentation 

  • Less is always more in PPT. 
  • Your PPT deck should enhance your presentation.
  • No more than 7 down and 7 across on your items is a good rule of thumb.
  • PPT has an accessibility checker – which helps with individuals who use screen readers.
  • Personal note: Her amazing tips helps me completely refine my presentation for PMI-NEFL conference.

Presented by Corentin Cras-Meneur – Taming Outlook for Mac (and some Tips for Windows too!) 

  • While his session focused on Mac users, the Q&A section was very helpful PC users as well. 
  • Text expanders that work across programs really help with efficiency so you don’t have to retype or recreate the same information (e.g. Typinator).
  • Save common searches in your e-mail to speed up your efficiency.
  • Switch an e-mail back to unread so you know you still need to take action on it.
  • Check out Uservoice for providing suggestions to Microsoft (community issues are listed and people vote).

If you missed it, the next event will be held in Southfield, Michigan on June 6. Details are on

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Don’t Be Scammed!

Over the last few months, I have been chatting with customers and colleagues about various calls, e-mails, or text messages which are scams.

Scam Alert Button
Scam Alert Button

This very popular scam has been scaring people into thinking they need to pay for unneeded services because their computer is issuing viruses. You can read more about this by reviewing the Snopes article on this scam.  Also if you get bored at lunch sometime, there are lots of scams you can read about. Just because it is on the Internet and listed as news, does not mean it is true!

I actually experienced a call from one of these scammers and he was very convincing. For example he said he was from AVG virus protection, but when I said that I wasn’t using that on this computer, he rattled off a few other programs. Next he said he was from Windows support and asked me what version I was using (I did not answer). Next he said he had the model number of my computer (he rattled off some number that did not match my computer). Over and over again it appeared the caller was trying to get a match of something specific to my computer.  Just because you have heard of the company does not mean the call is legitimate!

The caller indicated my computer was sending out viruses and had to be fixed immediately. I indicated my computer was still in a laptop bag from my recent flight and not turned on.  The caller indicated my computer can still send out viruses even if it is not on. I pressed the caller for a company name or website and what I got was a fake website. The company name also seemed suspicious “USA Services” which clearly is not Microsoft, not my Internet Provider and not my virus protection provider. He prompted me to turn on my computer and I faked my way through some preliminary steps with him.  Next he told me to go to a website so he could “help” me find the viruses on my computer. I asked him to instead direct me through the steps he was going to do and I would do them myself. He did not agree to that. After much frustration on his part, he finally said he would call me next week when I had more time to work with him . Immediately after I hung up, I searched the internet to learn more about this scam. The caller made what appeared to be several more attempts over the next week but never left a message and luckily I never wasted anymore time with this person.

This week I had a customer who shared with me the best response ever to one of these phone scams – “I don’t have a computer.” Amazing how fast the scammer hung up the phone :).

Over the years I have experienced several scams. I have received text messages, e-mails and phone calls from places claiming to be from my bank, from Amazon, or from some other reputable company. All of them are asking me to click a link or in some way provide personal information. When in doubt, always go to a new browser windows and enter the actual website of the real company to view your account details.

Here are some guidelines to help you determine if it is a scam

  • Ask how they got your information and ask them to be very specific with date, location, etc.
  • Ask a friend. Literally if anyone tells you it is a scam, believe them.
  • Tell them you are going to contact the company directly to deal with this matter.

Here are a couple of stories from customers about scams –

A company that is in the insurance industry sent out a test email message saying something like “look at my cute cat video” just to see who opened it. Over 50% of the employees opened it and clicked on the link. The company instituted training about avoiding e-mail scans later that month. If it is not company related, do not open it! became their new motto.

A company that is in the architecture business fell victim to a computer virus that sends out e-mail messages that appear to be from the owner of that computer. A high percentage of computers were later infected and when the company’s HR department asked employees why they opened such a suspicious e-mail, the answer was that it came from the IT Manager so it must be a real e-mail. It does not matter who sends it to you, if it sounds suspicious and you were not expecting it, do not open it!

Be cautious out there and when in doubt, delete the e-mail, delete the text message, or hang up!

I’d love to hear other stories about your experience with scams, please feel free to comment on this article.

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Postpone Windows 10 Upgrade but Stay Current on Updates

It has been nearly six months since Microsoft started downloading and upgrading computers to Windows 10 for free. However, there are many are us who are not interested in the upgrade or have older computers which may not be compatible with Windows 10. Here are some tips on how to stay current with other Windows updates but avoid the Windows 10 automatic upgrade.

How to Turn Off the Windows 10 Update

Navigate to Windows Update

Tip – In IE choose Tools, Windows Update, or in Windows 7/8 do a search on Windows Update

Click Show All Available Updates

Windows Update 2

Click the Link for Optional Updates

Uncheck the link for Upgrade to Windows 10 Home

Optional Updates 2

Cindy’s Experience with Windows 10

Just in case you are curious what I did:

As a consultant I have two computers and I decided to upgrade my newest computer to Windows 10. Instead of joining the crowd and doing it the first week it was released, I waited about a month.  The upgrade process went fairly smoothly except I had to keep returning to my computer to make sure I had answered any questions and to make sure it was still running.  I opted for the option to be able to roll back if needed. After the upgrade, I found several things I liked including Cortana, automatic updating, and the Edge browser. However, I also found several things I did not like such as unable to do face sign in, inability to run in IE mode and problems with my video driver.  I am using a Toshiba Satellite P55W and my laptop was only 6 months old when I did the upgrade. While using Windows 10, I discovered that every time Microsoft pushed an automatic update, my ability to extend to a second monitor or projector would break. After working with Toshiba, I discovered my only option was to reinstall my video driver in compatibility mode every time. After working with Windows 10 for several weeks, I determined that in order to be productive, I had to roll back to Windows 8.1.  That process went better than expected and I am happy that Microsoft offered this option.

My tips for you – when you upgrade be sure that you can be available to continually check on the computer and be sure that you have at least a week to configure and test it doing your “daily activities” to make sure it works as planned.  Also, mark a note in your calendar so you know how much time you have to roll back if needed (mine expired in 30 days).

Good luck all.


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