Category Archives: Windows

Connecting a Nexus 5 to a Windows PC – Update

We’ve been having a problem lately, mainly since we switched to Windows 10, whenever we try to hook up our Nexus 5 to a PC. Windows sees the Nexus as an Acer ADB device for some reason. Here’s how we fix this:

  1. This procedure is done on your Nexus 5, not on your PC. Start by connecting your phone to your PC using a USB cable.
  2. Go to your Settings, that would be the gear icon on your app screen. After a recent Android system update, we’re on version 6 now, the menu that controls your USB settings has disappeared. This means that you have to do a search for them. Look for the icon of a magnifying glass at the top of your screen.
  3. Type the letters usb in the search space.

    settings for usb
    This is what you see when you search for ‘usb’ on the settings screen. You want to choose Select USB Configuration
  4. Several choices will pop up. The one you want is ‘Select USB Configuration’.  Press that choice.
  5. More than likely the choice you want on the next screen is already chosen. You should see ‘MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) selected. No matter, select it again by simply touching those words.

    MTP Things
    Even if MTP is pre-selected, touch those words again to confirm the choice.
  6. If you’ve followed the steps correctly, a file explorer window should pop up on your screen. It should show your Nexus 5 as a storage device that you can double click on to reveal the contents.

This process should work for you. We’re not sure why Windows 10 defaults to the ADB device choice but doing this fairly simple set of steps should get you up and running quickly. It’s as if you have to remind Windows that the Nexus 5 is an MTP device.

If by chance this doesn’t work for you, try our previous routine. Here is the link:  Nexus 5 to PC


Comments and questions are welcome but  Likes on our Facebook page get immediate attention.  Here’s the link: Computers Made Simple on Facebook .Thanks for reading!

The Ultimate Portable Document

In this post we’re going to show you how to create a document that you can open on virtually any modern device with no special software. Since this document we’re going to create can be read on a phone, laptop, tablet or PC, etc., we are describing it as portable. While you can use it very easily on any of your devices, you will also be able to send it to any of your friends or relatives anywhere in the world and they will be able to open it also. Cool huh?

You may think that a PDF or a text file is universal, they aren’t. While Windows can open a plain text file by itself, it can’t open a PDF file without additional software. Your mobile device certainly can’t open a PDF file by itself and it probably can’t open a text file without some form of reader. That’s the problem we encountered when we were using our Blackberry Playbook. All of our password files were in ‘txt’ format, text files in other words. The Playbook, along with any Blackberry device, doesn’t have a default text reader.

What’s the magic bullet here? You’re looking at it right now, more or less. Every device that we can think of has a web browser built into it right from the factory. What kind of file does a browser open? A simple ‘htm or html’ file. That’s what we’re going to create today. If this sounds difficult, it’s not. We’re Computers Made Simple, remember, not Computers Made Complicated. Here we go:

1. To create or edit your new document, you’ll probably have to use your PC or laptop. Why? Because every Windows computer since time began has included the free Notepad accessory. It hasn’t changed much over the years, thankfully. On Windows 8, Microsoft has even put the icon/shortcut for Notepad down on your taskbar. It’s the one that looks like a blue scratchpad.

2. Open Notepad. You’ll see a blank white space with a cursor blinking up on the top left.

3. Highlight the following text, right click and choose Copy. Go back to Notepad, right click anywhere in the white area and choose Paste. This is the text that you will copy and then paste into Notepad:

<!DOCTYPE html>
This is a truly portable document. Put your words in here, below the first body above and above the second body below.



4.  Either press the Control key and s at the same time or click on file and choose ‘save’. A Windows menu will open. Down at the bottom of the menu you’ll see the words ‘Save as type’.  Click on the far right of Text Documents (*.txt), you’ll see a little arrow icon there. Another choice, All Files, will pop down.

Photo of Save Menu
Make sure All Files is showing then make up a name for your new portable document.

5. Click on All Files and in the little box above it type ‘document.htm’ or ‘document.html’. The last three or four letters after the period could be htm or html, it doesn’t matter.  The name of the file doesn’t matter either, just make sure you put a period after the name you choose as well as either htm or html.

6. Click Save and you’re done. Remember where you’ve saved this file, find it and double click on it. Your default browser will open and this is what you’ll see:

Photo of basic html document
Note the the brackets and spare words are missing. Your browser knows to only show the words between the brackets.

7. Once you have the html/htm file saved, you can edit it in Notepad. Anything you type into it has to be between the opening ‘body’ and the closing ‘body’, right where ‘This is a truly portable document’ is now. Essentially, you can use this as a seed for any future portable documents that you might want to make.

Text files, and that’s basically what this is, are small. That’s the second advantage to all of this. A document created in Word is substantially larger than one created in Notepad. Whether it’s an .htm/.html file or a .txt file, it will be as small as a file can be. On a flash drive or a cell phone, it won’t take up much room at all.

Once you’ve written everything you want in the document, you can email it to yourself and retrieve it on any device that you’ve got linked to your email account. When you want to open it, your device will know what it is and automatically open it in your browser, no matter if you’re using Windows, Android or iOS or, in some cases, a Blackberry tablet or phone. Nothing special needs to be installed, just click and choose Open.

TIP: At this point, you will only be able to put words into this document, not photos or videos. These things can be put into an .html document of course, but we’re only talking about text here, words not pictures. They make things substantially more complicated.

There is one more step to all of this if you want to use a foreign language, in other words something other than English letters and numbers. We’ll get to that in our next post. Stay tuned!

That’s it for today, thanks for reading! Comments and questions are welcome but  Likes on our Facebook page get immediate attention.  Here’s the link: Computers Made Simple on Facebook 




Dress Up Your Desktop – Safely!

Did you know that Microsoft offers many different desktop motifs that you can use to change the look of your desktop? Did you know that these themes are free? Well they are. Read on.

TIP TIP TIP (Read carefully): Only download themes and wallpaper from well-known and trusted sites. Many malware sites advertise ‘free wallpaper’ but what you are actually downloading is much more than a simple photo. The download installs malware on your computer which is difficult or impossible to remove. You’ve been warned.

Commonly known as ‘wallpaper’,  there are many different kinds of profiles that you can use to dressup the look of your desktop. These profiles go one step beyond simple wallpaper. Some of them change the way your program windows look, others change your cursor while others can change the default notification sounds. Here’s how to get them:

1. Right click anywhere on your desktop and choose Personalize.

Photo of Windows Personalize menu
Here are all of your installed themes. If you need more, click ‘Get more themes online’.

2. In the window that opens, look through the standard profiles that are already installed on your computer. If none of them seem interesting, look for the words ‘Get more themes online’.

3. A new window on the Microsoft website will show up in your browser which will list many different themes, more than you can possibly use. They’re all free and totally safe to download and install.

4. Use the menu on the left side of the Microsoft page, find some interesting ones then click download. Once the file has downloaded, click on it and the theme will install itself automatically.

Photo of Themes Online
There are many different themes here. We’re sure you’ll be able to find some that will interest you.

5. Once the theme has been installed, it will appear in the original menu, the one you get when you choose Personalize when you right click your desktop. Click on any of the ones there and it will automatically replace your current theme.

Tip: Note that some Windows computers with the basic version of Windows 7 cannot use these themes. You cannot use any wallpaper or theme on these computers.

Tip: While you can use any photo as simple wallpaper, these themes are more detailed. They change more than the look of your desktop. If you don’t like the one you’ve got, you can change it. There are lots of choices.

That’s it for today, thanks for reading! Comments and questions are welcome but  Likes on our Facebook page get immediate attention.  Here’s the link: Computers Made Simple on Facebook 

Windows 10 – First Impressions

Interested in Windows 10? Hate Windows 8? We were in the same boat so we  headed over HERE , downloaded the Windows 10 preview and installed it on an older laptop. Wow! Are we glad we did!  Here’s what we think of it so far.

Background: Our older Lenovo laptop gave up the ghost recently. It wouldn’t boot into Windows 7 no matter what we did to try and fix it. Since we’d done a full back-up on it very recently, we decided that it would be the perfect guinea pig for Windows 10.

In the past, Microsoft has warned us against installing a new O/S (operating system) on an older computer. We were very thankful that this wasn’t the case on our older Lenovo. There was never a mention or warning that there might not be enough CPU power or RAM, normally the two main problems when upgrading. Thankfully, Windows 10 installed perfectly and has run smoothly since.

TIP: In order to install Windows 10 from the file that you download from Microsoft, you have to burn the iso file to a DVD. That’s the easiest and simplest way although you can use a flash drive. The flash drive process is more complicated and involves other software so, for now, burn the iso to a DVD using Burnaware, the free software that we recommend highly. (Make sure you get the FREE version, it works perfectly.)

Photo of Windows 10 desktop
See the start button on the left? It’s a window now but it’s there. Phew! Thanks Microsoft!

First Impressions of Windows 10

The biggest and most lasting impression is that Windows 10 is NOT Windows 8. That comforting impression cheers us up every time we start using it. An O/S shouldn’t get in the way of your work. It should run in the background and, simply, allow you to get things done, whether those things are for work or pleasure. No one needs an O/S that tries to be something else. That’s what Windows 8 tried to be. We’re not sure exactly what it was masquerading as but, trust us, it wasn’t pretty.

Windows 10 is much like Windows 7 except it’s faster, faster in just about every way we can think of. Booting up is quick, so quick that we originally thought that we were missing something, that the version we had wasn’t the full one. Turns out we were wrong. Microsoft has somehow managed to streamline the boot process to a level that we haven’t seen in years.

Everything is where it should be. There’s the Start menu, the desktop, familiar icons across the bottom of the screen…it’s all there. No weird looking screen with a jumble of unknown icons blocking your path to productivity. That in itself is very calming. We know that Windows 7 can’t last forever but if we were faced with Windows 8 as the only alternative, we’d nurse Windows 7 along for years. No need to now. Windows 10 is here!

Wait…if you can

If you’re in the market for a new computer, see if you can wait until the public release of Windows 10. This is mainly to save you some money. If you get a laptop or desktop now with Windows 8, you’ll have to spring for a copy of Windows 10 when it comes out. If you can wait until closer to the release date, you can almost always get a very substantial discount on the upgrade. You’ll be offered that discount by Microsoft when you purchase a qualifying PC within weeks of the Windows 10 release date. It’s been that way in the past and we don’t see Microsoft changing this.

If you can’t wait, don’t worry. Virtually any laptop or PC you buy now will run Windows 10. Just make sure you get at least 4 gigs of ram and a dual or quad core CPU. Both of these are pretty much standard now except for the very lowest priced laptops or refurbished PCs. Our Lenovo was over two years old and runs Windows 10 just fine.

Remember that the version of Windows 10 that we have installed is NOT a permanent version of the O/S. It will expire at some point. Because of that, don’t install this on your main computer. Either get another hard drive or use a spare PC/laptop, not your everyday computer. That’s partially because it will expire but also because this is a beta or trial version, not the final retail one. It might crash, taking all of your personal files with it. We’ve found it to be very stable but you never know what might happen in the future.

We loved Windows 7, hated Windows 8 with a passion but, right now anyway, we think that Windows 10 will surpass Windows 7 in popularity. It’s that good. We’ll post more details on it as time goes by.

That’s it for today, thanks for reading! Comments and questions are welcome but  Likes on our Facebook page get immediate attention.  Here’s the link: Computers Made Simple on Facebook 


Buying a Laptop? – Better wait for a while.

We recently picked up a new laptop for a very good price. Good price or not, we returned the laptop yesterday. Why? Although it was advertised as having Windows 7, this Toshiba 15.6″ laptop came with Windows 8. We use Windows 8 on a few of our desktops but find it impossible to use on a laptop. That’s why we returned it.

Out of the box the Toshiba had the old version of Windows 8 installed. Try as we might, we couldn’t get it to update itself to the 8.1 version, the one with the old style desktop. Aside from that, the computer was almost six months past its warranty date with Toshiba. Yes it was new but it seems that Toshiba limits its warranty to a one year period which starts when the retail outlet gets the computer. Hmmm, not good if that laptop sat on a shelf for a year and a half. Although the outlet offered a one year warranty of its own, we know how hard it is to get parts for anything that is more than a year old.

This experience made us think about you, our readers, and how you’re going to be faced with a dilemma if you’re thinking of picking up a new laptop in the next six months. Our suggestion is to wait, if you can, until next spring. Windows 10 will probably be released around April 15, 2015. In the past, Microsoft has offered free or heavily discounted upgrades to their next operating system if you purchase a computer in the weeks immediately prior to the O/S’s release date.

Take it from us, you don’t want to be stuck with Windows 8 on a laptop. We also don’t think that you want a Surface tablet, Microsoft’s own hardware product that uses Windows 8. We could buy two or three regular laptops for the price of one Surface Pro and the laptops would come with keyboards. The Surface does not come with one, even though every single ad shows it with a keyboard.

Aside from the free or discounted Windows 10 offering by Microsoft, laptop and computer manufacturers always tune their products for the next O/S. That means that they design the latest products around test versions of Microsoft’s latest operating system, even if that system hasn’t been released yet. We’re sure you’ve all heard of horrendous upgrade tales from friends who tried to install a new O/S on an old computer. In most cases, it just doesn’t work.

If you can, wait. If you can’t wait, see if you can pick up a Windows 7 laptop. Dell and other manufacturers still offer some models with the very stable Windows 7. Although the products may be a bit long in the tooth, you’ll appreciate using an interface that you know instead of looking at a desktop full of icons.

Photo of Windows 10 desktop.
Right now it’s a mish-mash of icons and what looks like a start menu but we’re sure it will be more like Windows 7 than Windows 8. It has to be.


If you want to download the early beta of Windows 10, go here: Windows 10 Beta Download The file you download will be an ISO. You won’t be able to do anything with it until you burn it to a DVD (easy) or put it on a flash drive (more complicated). Regardless of how you install this beta, DO NOT use it as your main Operating System. Play with it, get used to how it looks and operates but don’t do any real work on it. While these releases are usually stable, there is no guarantee that your data is safe. One glitch and you could lose everything.

For that reason we suggest using a new drive and dual-boot. We’ll get into that later in another post but whatever you do, don’t install Windows 10 Beta over your old, stable version of Windows.

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