Category Archives: Windows

How to Tell if Windows 10 Creators Update is installed

The Windows 10 Creators Update has been rolling out to compatible devices, but it is not easy to tell if any of the updates you have been receiving are it, as you won’t see the name, only a version and build number.

Windows 10 Creators Update rolling out

Ways to Check if Creators Update is Installed on Your PC

Let’s look at a couple of easy ways to tell if you have the Creators Update installed:

The About settings Page

I like this method as it also displays a dialog box that includes information on the amount of RAM installed, processor model and speed, and your Windows edition:

  • Click the Start button (or tap Windows key on keyboard)
  • Click Settings gear at left to display Windows Settings
  • Click on System icon
  • Click on About at bottom of list on left

Windows 10 About Settings for Creators Update version

The Windows 10 Creators Update is installed on your computer If you see Version 1703 and OS Build or above (as it will depend on how far in the future you are checking).

Use the Run Command

If you like using the Run Command, here’s the quick way to do that:

  • Press Windows key + R on the keyboard to open the Run command
  • Type “winver” in the Open box (without quotes)
  • Press Enter key or click OK

Run box for displaying Windows version

This method is lean and clean and displays just licensing and the information you asked for:

About Windows dialog box for version from Run command

Note: Each update of Windows 10 has its own internal version number. For example, the big Anniversary Update version is 1607.

Creators Update has Many New Features

Windows 10 Creators Update includes many great new and updated features across Windows and the Edge browser. It has upped the ante on 3D, Inking and Mixed Reality, along with fast, visual ways to share with your favorite people, and making Cortona smarter and more helpful.  We’ll cover some of those in a future post.

Do you have Creators Update yet? Are you using any of the updated and added features? Tell us how.

No matter which version of Windows 10 you have, there are some “garage” features or apps you might not know about, such as the valuable Snip tool – a free download from Microsoft (not to be confused with the Snipping tool already included in Windows). Check it out in this blog:

Delete Personal Content from Public Computers

Remove Personal Email Accounts and OneDrive Files from Public Computers

When it comes to computer security, ignorance is not bliss. Have you used a computer outside of your normal environment and not realized that you have to delete personal content from public computers?

Picture this scenario…

You made a trip to the library or took a class at the local college and logged in with one provided by them. That was well and good but you wanted to take advantage of all the great features of Windows 10 and online apps which are not available or are limited unless you used a Microsoft login. You discovered to your delight you could add a Microsoft approved email account in Account Settings, and take advantage of accessing web email and calendar events, along with sharing and messaging features. You added the account and happily made short work of all your projects using the Calendar and Mail app tiles and sharing amazing finds on the web.

Eventually, you look at the time and realize you must jet out of there. Closing all open applications, you log off, or even better, shut down the computer, and scurry off to dinner feeling quite proud of your accomplishments. You have a pleasant day or two and return to the institution and sit down at the same computer and again use their login. You click the Start button and see the live tiles rolling…Screech! Wait a minute, that looks like my emails and appointments…what the heck!

Shock at personal files still on public computer`

End of scenario…

That was my reaction the first time I saw it! After a lot of heart-pounding and testing, was able to delete the online email and shared event content but then discovered (the next day) that all my synced OneDrive files were still available to anyone who logged into that public computer! This is separate issue from the connection for online apps but, thankfully, there is a way to remove those files so they are drop-kicked from the file directory.

Delete Personal Content from Public Computers

Since the email and calendar entries can be accessed without displaying and syching  the OneDrive files and vice versa, we’ll cover them separately.

Remove Personal Email and Calendar Entries

Here are the steps to abolish those messages, calendar entries and shared web content:

  • Click Start and then click on the Settings icon.

Settings gear on Start Screen

  • Click on the Accounts icon.
  • Look for Email, calendar and contacts.
  • Then, scroll down until you see Accounts used by other apps.

Email, calendar and contacts dialog box

  • Under Accounts used by other apps section, click on your Microsoft email address.

Accounts used by other apps dialog box

  • After clicking on your email address, you should see these two buttons displayed –Manage and Remove.
  • Click Remove. The account will instantly remove.
  • If you get another message displaying “Remove account from your device?” click yes/confirm. *
  • Look under “Add an Account.” If your email address remains, click on your email address.

Email account displayed under Add a Microsoft account

  • Click the Manage button.
  • Choose Delete Account.

Account Settings dialog box

  • If you get the “Remove account from your device?” click yes/confirm. *
  • Do a Restart and login with the same login you used originally.
  • Click on the Mail App in Start Menu and ensure that it doesn’t display the emails or email address in the Mail window.
  • Click on the Calendar App in Start Menu and ensure your personal appointments are deleted.

* Don’t let this scare you. Your content is only being removed from that particular computer. It still exists in all your own devices.

Remove OneDrive Files from Public Computer

I want to delete all the synched files from OneDrive in File Explorer but ensure they remain in the cloud-based storage. Microsoft OneDrive allows you to selectively sync files and folders at the device level so you can store files in OneDrive online without keeping them on each of your personal devices.

Steps to remove the shared files and folders from the computer:

  • On the right side of the taskbar, right-click the cloud-shaped OneDrive
  • Click Settings. (if you have a full taskbar, you may have to select the arrow for Show hidden icons to see the OneDrive icon).

OneDrive Settings menu

  • Click the Account tab.

OneDrive Account tab

  • Select Choose folders button to display the customizable list.

Remove OneDrive files from public computer

  • Clear the check boxes for any folders you don’t need offline. *
  • Click OK.
  • Click on File Explorer and ensure that OneDrive has no entries.

* Those folders won’t show up in File Explorer anymore, but they’ll still be online at

Note: Please keep in mind that screens might be slightly different depending on the version or update you have of Windows and/or Office.

Has this worked for you? Let me know in the Comments below!

Windows 10 Includes Zip and Unzip (Compress) Function

You no longer need to download or install a third party zipping utility as Windows 10 includes Zip and Unzip, just one of the many features that were not included in previous versions of the operating system.

If you received an email attachment that has been compressed or want to download a program or gallery of pictures from the internet, they will most likely be zipped. Usually no problem getting them to your computer but what to do then?

Windows 10 includes Zip and Unzip

You may have questions depending on the location of the file or program, such as:

  • How do I tell if it is a zipped (compressed) file?
  • Where do I find the file I downloaded?
  • How do I unzip the file I got from  a website or as an email attachment?

Legitimate questions, and if you are not familiar with zipping utilities, the steps can be a mite confusing. Let’s look at some ways to handle receiving or downloading zipped files…

Unzip a Folder or File Downloaded from the Internet

First, you can always spot a compressed file as the folder will have a zipper on the front of it.         Windows Zipped Folder

As for location, if you have downloaded a compressed file or folder from the Web, it will automatically be in your Downloads folder – Fortunately, very easy to access in Windows 10. The download could be a program or one large file or a folder containing many pictures or documents, so will refer to all as “file” in the steps below for unzipping them.

For some reason, Microsoft changed the names of some of the Windows folders (to keep us on our toes) so will include what they were called in previous Windows in case that has caused some angst:

  • Click on File Explorer icon on the Taskbar (automatically added as a default icon when the operating system was installed). Previous versions were called Windows Explorer.
  • Scroll up to the Quick Access area and click on the Downloads folder (also auto added on install). Quick Access was formerly called Favorites
  • If you did this immediately after the download, it will be highlighted in the list. Looking later, you can sort by any column by clicking its heading, once for Ascending and again for Descending; (will toggle back and forth with each click).
  • Click once on desired file and note the Ribbon will change to reflect it is a compressed file. (If Ribbon does not display, right click on word “Extract” at top, and click Minimize the Ribbon to remove the checkmark and display it).

Windows 10 includes Zip and Unzip

  • On the Ribbon, click the word Extract which will display an Extract All icon: *

Extract All icon in File Explorer

TIP: You can also right click over the zipped file and choose Extract All. Double-clicking the file will also bring you to this screen.

  • This displays a dialog box so you can choose where you want to save the file once unzipped:

Extract zipped folders dialog box

  • The folder noted will be the Downloads folder so you want to click the Browse… button
  • Select the destination folder to extract to but if a main location like Desktop, you need to select an existing folder there or create a new folder or subfolder:

  • Click the Select Folder button at bottom. The dialog box displays confirming your selection.
  • Click Extract button:

  • That folder will open and your file | folder will be listed. Double click to open and use to your heart’s content!

Looks like a lot of steps but really is not. You will “zip” right through them!

Unzip an Email Attachment

The process is going to be the same once you get to the unzipping part but how you get there will depend on how your email program handles attachments. Here’s how the most popular ones behave:

  • or Click the zipped file icon at the top of the email to immediately download or click Download or Save to OneDrive link to start the process. OneDrive, formerly SkyDrive, is Microsoft’s cloud storage and you get 15GB free. If you chose Download, the folder will display at bottom of screen. Click to Open or Show in Folder. Open will bring you directly to screen with Extract All on Ribbon and you can choose where to save it. Show in Folder takes you to the Download folder.
  • Outlook on Desktop (Office): Zipped icon gives you choices to Preview, Open or several Save options. If you open or double click the file, you get this warning, and if you click Open again, you will arrive at that same Extract All screen.

Opening Mail Attachment dialog box in Outlook

  • GmailPlaces the attachment at the bottom of the email with choice to Download or Save to Drive (Google Drive). If you select the Drive option, you can click Organize (or the Learn More… prompt that displays at the top of the Inbox). You also get 15GB free storage here.

GMail download link

Tip: If you are unzipping photos or videos or documents you want access to from anywhere with internet access, then saving to cloud storage is the way to go, especially since it is free! Besides OneDrive and Google Drive, another popular option is Dropbox, so you can spread the files around if you get close to capacity in any one.

Where Do I Find the Original Zipped Files?

Your downloaded files stay in the Downloads folder unless you delete them, so you can extract them as many times as you want. Very handy if previously extracted files get lost, corrupted or altered.

As Windows 10 includes Zip and Unzip utility, it saves having to download any separate programs – one less thing to do or deal with is always a good thing, I say!

We’ll discuss ways to zip your own content to share with others in another post.

If you want to see other nifty features that are built into Windows 10 such as Virtual Desktops that allow you create multiple desktops, visit this blog:

Do you save most of your unzipped files to your computer drives, the internet or both? Let me know in the Comments below.

Microsoft Snip, Windows Newest Screen Capture Tool

Snip Vs. The Snipping Tool

The new, free Snip tool takes the familiar Windows Snipping Tool that has been included in the Accessories folder of the operating system (in any version above XP) to a new level. While the Snipping Tool is a great screen capture tool and includes basic annotation and highlighting features, it lacks some capabilities found in Microsoft Snip.

Snip is one of several “garage” projects created by Microsoft employees who are being encouraged to create apps outside of the regular Windows and Office programs. How awesome is that! It is not included but can be downloaded free to Windows 7 and above. You can download it here and also see examples of how people use this tool: Download Here

Windows Snip, Show and Tell

Snip has three main steps of Capture, Annotate and Share and different ways to make that happen. A great feature is that it saves each capture in a Library so that you can use the snips again. It also allows voice recording, and saving as MP4 video.

Screen Capture with Snip

Once installed and opened, the dialog box will position itself at the top center of your window but you can drag it to any border or float it anywhere on your screen.

Activate a screen capture with the by clicking the Capture icon or pressing the PrtScrn keyboard shortcut which is automatically assigned.

Windows Snip, Print Screen key

You can click on the icons directly for the specific type of capture. The main menu is divided into three primary functions, Capture, Whiteboard and Camera.

Windows Snip, Capture toolbar

Snip Editor Toolbar

If the PrtScrn key is pressed or the Capture icon clicked and either the whole screen or a portion selected, the Snip Editor toolbar displays with options to record, annotate, highlight, and more.

Captures are automatically copied to the Windows Clipboard and any audio added will automatically be converted to a MP4 file. You can then embed on websites, play as video and/or save to desired location.

Windows Snip, Snip Editor toolbar

The Capture button can be used to get screen shots by either cropping the desirable section or by capturing the entire screen. The default selection is generally entire screen and can be captured with a click or by pressing Enter which displays the Snip Editor above.

Whiteboard is more like an extended paint tool and it will let you highlight and scribble and simultaneously explain what you are doing through voice recording.

Last but definitely not least, is the Camera capture button, which simply switches on your webcam and allows you to take a picture of yourself. Editing options are same for Capture, Whiteboard and Camera.

Note: The Record button records the annotations and other screen actions as well as any voice audio you use to explain your onscreen activity. The screen can be shared by email or saved to your hard drive.

Customize Options for Snip Tool

There aren’t many but you can control a couple of things from the Settings icon on the Snip Editor toolbar. If you don’t want the PrntScrn key to auto capture the screen, you can remove that shortcut. There is a delay feature but I haven’t found any reason to use it as, unlike the Snipping Tool, you can capture drop-down menus and dialog boxes by displaying them, then pressing the PrntScrn key (which is why I leave it active) – a huge advantage!

Windows Snip, Snip Editor Settings

Take a screenshot in Windows 10 and Windows 8

Windows 8 and 10 users can press the Windows and PrntScrn keys together to capture the entire screen and the image will automatically save to a Screenshot folder inside of the Pictures library. Earlier Windows versions copy to the Clipboard.

Take a screenshot on a Windows tablet or smartphone

Windows tablet owners can take a screenshot by pressing both the Windows button and Volumedown key at the same time. The image will auto save in the Screenshots folder in the Pictures library.

On a Windows 8.1 Phone, you do this by pressing the Power button and Volumeup key together. On Windows 8 phones, press the Start button and Power button at the same time. Screenshots are automatically saved in the Photos
Hub section


It is exciting to see Microsoft releasing these “garage” projects that are innovative and free. Although there are many other programs that can do the same or similar things to Snip, most are not free (definitely a bonus)! Other ventures from Microsoft include Sway (online creative graphics) and Mix for PowerPoint which you can download into that application. Along with the purchase of other programs such as Wunderlist and LinkedIn, there seems to be a move towards creative features that can be used in both Office 365 and Windows.

Want to try Mix? Go to my blog post on Mix here for more information: PowerPoint Mix on

Go here to see my previous post on the Windows Snipping Tool: Windows Snipping tool blog on

Have you played with Snip? What feature do you like best?

Create Virtual Desktops in Windows 10

Organize with Virtual Desktops

We can all appreciate ways to minimize distraction. If you have multiple programs and/or files open, it can be difficult to switch among them, especially with one monitor. The Virtual Desktops feature in Windows 10 is the perfect remedy.

Why would I want to use Virtual Desktops? Here’s just a few reasons for adding additional desktops:

  • A great way to separate and organize programs and tasks. 
  • Keep all your files and web research for a specific project on one desktop, and everything else on another.  
  • There is no limit to the number of desktops you can create.
  • You can move programs or files from one desktop to another.

Create a New Desktop

To create a new, empty virtual desktop, click the Task View icon on the taskbar (just to the right of Search or Cortana), or use the Windows key Tab keyboard shortcut. (If the Task View icon is not displayed, right click on a clean place on the taskbar and click Show Task View button):

Task View icon on taskbar

Then click New Desktop at the bottom right of the screen:

A new, empty desktop displays with any existing desktops shown as thumbnails below:

new virtual desktop

Each virtual desktop is numbered, with the main (first) desktop identified as Desktop 1. To see which open windows and apps are associated with a given desktop, mouse over the thumbnail of that desktop at the bottom of the screen.

When you click on a desktop and then choose a file or app to work on, it switches to that window. You can still see all open programs no matter what desktop they are on, as their icons are underlined on the taskbar.

Display the virtual desktops again by clicking the Task View icon or using the Windows key Tab shortcut.

Move an App to Another Desktop

Whatever desktop you are in when you open an app or file is the one it resides on but you may want to put it on a different desktop. That can be done just about as fast as you can say it:

  • Click on the Task View icon to display thumbnails of the desktops at bottom of screen and display the contents of the current desktop:

Virtual Desktops

  • Drag and drop a thumbnail from main screen to desired desktop or, for more options, right click over the thumbnail you want to move, and choose from the command menu:

Move to another desktop

  • Point at Move to and click the desktop you want that app or file on.

Note that you can choose to have a particular app or file display on all desktops as well.

Close a Virtual Desktop

You can close an individual file or app or an entire desktop by displaying the desktop and clicking X in the upper right corner of the desired thumbnail in Task View.

These extra desktops are temporary and only exist while you have Windows open. They live in virtual memory so are not saved.

Shortcuts for Virtual Desktops

  • Display the Task View with the Windows key Tab shortcut.
  • You can switch virtual desktops with the mouse, but a fast way to move between them is by pressing Windows key Ctrl key and then the right or left arrow keys in Task View.
  • Rotate between the contents of a desktop by using any of the four arrows. Left and right arrows move through contents in order. Up and down arrows move by row. When desired app or file is selected, pressing Enter key opens it.
  • Press Tab key to move between the virtual desktop and its contents.

Laptops with a touchpad: Use a four-finger swipe to quickly switch between desktops. Swipe left to move to higher-numbered desktops, swipe right to return to Desktop 1.

How have you used Virtual Desktops? Share how they have helped you organize your tasks!

Windows Snipping Tool

Snipping Tool for Windows Screenshots

The Snipping Tool is free and allows you to capture full screens or just a portion of the screen in any Windows program…

Microsoft has several free, desktop mini-programs. Many have been available for the last several versions of Windows, such as Paint, Notepad and WordPad but a few are later additions, such as the Snipping Tool and Sticky Notes (in Windows 7 and above), and Windows Fax and Scan and Steps Recorder available in Windows 10. None are full-blown programs but they will help in a pinch if you don’t have MS Office or a photo program.

These all reside in the Accessories folder but a much faster way to find them is to click the Start button (or press the Windows key on the keyboard) and type whatever you are looking for. If it is a tool (like this one) that you know you’ll want to use all the time, just right click on its icon on the Taskbar (after opening), and choose Pin to Taskbar. (You could also choose to Pin to Start Menu by right clicking over the name when it appears at the top of the Search menu).

Access all the tools in Windows 7 by clicking Start and then All Programs. Scroll down to the folders and click Accessories. Click Snipping Tool.

In Windows 10, click Start and click on any of the letters displayed above the programs, click on the “W”, and then click Windows Accessories but on to what you came for…

How the Snipping Tool Works

The options and process in both Windows 7 and 10 are the same except that a Delay feature has been added to the tool in Windows 10 to allow time to get the right shot.

Windows 7

Windows 10

Another feature in Windows 10 is that you can use the keyboard shortcut WIN PRNTSCR to capture a snip and it will be saved automatically to your Pictures folder in a Screenshots subfolder. However, it will be a shot of the entire screen. This shortcut will work in Windows 7 to capture the screen but it will automatically be saved to the Windows Clipboard so needs to be pasted into another program to save.

Windows 7 and Above

The Snipping Tool dialog box normally activates when you click its Taskbar icon. If the screen doesn’t fade, click the New button to start the process.

Now, just click, hold and draw around the part of the screen or object that you want to capture. Can be text or a picture or whatever. This allows you to crop as you select and get just what you want. When you release the mouse, you have an image of what you selected. You have options on what you want to do with the picture. (The Delay button will not be on the Windows 7 version but everything else will be the same):

The Save icon allows you to save the snip as an image anywhere you choose. The Copy icon copies automatically to the Windows Clipboard so that you can paste into any program screen. The Mail icon assumes you have Microsoft Outlook (desktop) so you can email directly from here. The Pen allows you to make annotations in various colors on your snip and the highlighter highlights. The eraser lets you erase those imperfect notes or lines!

Change Snipping Defaults

The drop down arrow on the New button gives you options for the four different types of screenshots you can apply:

The default is a rectangular snip but you can draw free form in any shape or choose to capture a whole window or the entire screen. If you change the Snip type, it will become the default.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut CTRL PRTSC (Print Screen key) to perform the snip instead of clicking New.

The Menu Bar that appears after a snip offers commands as well, and clicking Tools > Options…gives you access to some default settings, such as changing the color of the pen:

Capture Windows Start Screen

One of the drawbacks on the surface is not being able to capture the Start Menu, drop down menus or the shortcut options displayed with the right mouse button. Not to worry…you can do it!

The Snipping Tool will not work normally on the start screen. When you click the Start button and then activate the Snipping Tool, the Start Menu disappears.

You can capture the entire start screen using the WIN PRTSCR buttons but this also captures the screen behind it such as the Desktop or the active program window. You could do this and this open the image in a photo editor and crop it, save it, etc., but that is a long way around.

Capture Parts of Start Screen with Snipping Tool in Windows 7

  • Open Snipping Tool
  • Press ESC key
  • Press the WIN key to switch to the Start Screen
  • Move the mouse cursor around the desired area to capture just that portion

Capture Context Menu in Windows 7

The steps for getting a screenshot of a drop down menu or a shortcut (right click) menu are the same as above for the Start Screen except:

Replace Step 3 with a right click over the desired object (Desktop, file or folder or menu)

Next right-click on the desktop, file or folder and then press CTRL+PRNTSCR. This will let you capture the right-click context menu.

Capture Start Screen or Context Menu in Windows 10

The Delay feature in the Windows 10 tool allows you to set the number of seconds before taking the screenshot.

  • Start the Snipping Tool
  • Set desired number of seconds for Delay
  • Click New
  • Immediately press WIN key for the Start Menu or right click over area to display shortcut menu (or click a drop down arrow). You need to have this displayed before the time runs out
  • When screen grays out, draw around desired area

If you have a problem with the above steps working, here is the longer way to do the same:

  • Start the Snipping Tool
  • Set desired number of seconds for Delay
  • Click New
  • Press ESC
  • Right click over desired area to display menu (twice if needed). Snipping Tool will disappear
  • Press CTRL PRNTSCR to activate the Snipping Tool
  • Draw around menu or desired area

Remember, to capture the entire window, just press WIN+PRNTSCR at any time
without using the Snipping Tool and it will be automatically saved to the Screenshots folder under Pictures.

NOTE: In all versions of Windows, you can still use the PRNTSCR key to get a screenshot of the entire screen, and ALT PRNTSCR to capture just a front screen, like a dialog box or message window, and then paste into another program for saving or printing. (These do not work for the Start Screen or context menus).

There is a “garage” project app from Microsoft called Snip, which is similar to the Snipping Tool but more robust in that it allows recording during capture and also maintains all of your “snips” in a library. It is a separate download and not automatically included in Windows. MS Office also has a screenshot feature that works only in the Office Suite. I will cover these both in a later post.

Here is the link to the newer Snip app:

Hope this has solved a problem for you. Let me know if you use the Snipping Tool or if it is new to you and how it has helped. Happy Computing!