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WINDOWS 10

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update

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BeSt appS For

WINdoWS 10 The essential apps you need to start doing more with your Windows PC, right now!

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all you Need to get tHe perFect pc

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The home of technology techradar.com


Welcome The big news right now is that Microsoft has confirmed its Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be released on August 2. As well as shaking up the Start menu, adding more features to Cortana and the Edge browser, and supporting Windows Ink, the update will make your PC more secure than ever. The best news though is it’s a simple download, and anybody who already has Windows 10 will get it for free. Because we’re part of the Windows Insider programme

we’ve been checking out all the new features before they are released, and we’ve brought you a full hands-on report, starting on page 71 this issue. And don’t forget, if you haven’t upgraded your PC to Windows 10 yet, time is running out to get it for free and join the other 350 million Windows 10 users worldwide. You only have until July 29, so don’t delay. Oh, and don’t miss our round up of the best 50 apps this issue. Enjoy!

Graham Barlow Editor-in-Chief www.facebook.com/windowsmag SUBSCRIBE TO THE MAG TODAY AND SAVE – JUST TURN TO PAGE 36! We pride ourselves in being the only magazine on the shelves to show you exactly how to get the very best from the Windows operating system, whether you’re using Windows 10 or Windows 8.1. Also, don’t forget to take a look at how you can read the magazine on your laptop, phone or tablet.

Don’t miss our Next issue, when we will show you how to…

Next issue ON sale 19 August 2016

Use the brand-new features of the Anniversary Update Fix your own Windows problems… …and then fix your friends’ Windows problems, too!

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FeatuReS

16 50 best Windows 10 apps

a selection of the best apps you can get for your PC – download them now!

62 Command line tips

Reach those parts of your system that are hard to access through System Settings

71 Windows Anniversary Update We go hands-on with a full report on the new Windows 10 anniversary update

ReGulaRS

8 Discover Report back to Microsoft, 3D printing gets hairy, and the tiniest PC ever 36 Subscriptions Save up to 31% on print and digital issues

47 Back issues Don’t miss out! Order past issues while stocks last

69 Digital issues Get your favourite Windows mag on your digital device

98 Next month Discover what’s coming up in the next issue

exPlORe The best PC tutorials Your guide Graham Barlow says…

“If you’re looking for better ways to use your home computer, then this is the place to start. We’ll show you all the tips and tricks the experts use and more!”

SuPPORt

76 Four pages of essential expert help for all your tricky technical queries 6

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40 Get started with tuneIn Radio and listen to stations online

54 use File explorer to access the different content on your PC

44 take control of your email using the handy Poptrayu app

58 test the speed of your internet connection

48 use Recuva to restore your accidentally deleted files

60 Free up valuable space on your Windows PC

50 transform your photos into art with autodesk Pixlr


SubScription bundle offer Print and digital bundle – only £20 every 3 months Find out more on page 36

On the cOver

the 50 beSt appS for

WindOWs

16 Do much more on your PC with these amazing apps

10

uPGRaDe

87 Our expert reviews 88 HP elite x2 1012 G1 90 lenovo Yoga 900S 92 Panasonic tx-40Dx600 94 Withings Go 96 travel speakers

On the cOver

command line trickS 62 Access all the parts of your PC

On the cOver

hAnds On!

Windows 10

Anniversary Update

71 Find out what Microsoft has in store

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September 2016 |

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NEW thiNgs to do

amaziNg WEbsitEs

Not just Macs affinity apps – coming to a Windows Pc near you soon…

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fasciNatiNg facts


Discover To Affinity and beyond

Photosh op bew are

The Knowledge…

Affinity apps are coming to Windows

get pro-grade design tools without a subscription

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erif, creator of potent but walletfriendly design applications, is bringing its previously Macexclusive Affinity software suite to Windows. Taking on Adobe at its own game, Affinity currently consists of two applications – the Illustrator-like vector drawing app Affinity Designer and image-editing Photoshop rival Affinity Photo. A third, the desktop publishingfocused Affinity Publisher, should be in beta by the end of the year, launching fully in 2017. Previously, while exclusive to Apple machines, Affinity picked up some top awards, with Photo voted the best app of 2015 on Apple’s App Store, and the Best Imaging Software award from the Technical Image Press Association. The year also saw Designer receive an Apple Design Award for design and innovation. Windows users have been out of luck… until now. “Pretty much any article, blog or social post about our Affinity apps now

seems to attract a rush of comments from users asking why we don’t make them available on Windows. Well, I’m really excited to finally reveal we are working on it and the development team are making incredibly rapid progress.” says Ashley Hewson, Serif’s managing director. “We already have an early build of Affinity Designer running on our PCs in the office here, and we will be making it available as a free public beta in the summer.” For tablet fans, an iPad version of the Photo app, aiming for feature parity with the desktop versions, has also been announced. You can sign up for the Windows beta at http://affinity.serif.com, and it should be available by the time you read this. The Windows apps will be identical to their Mac counterparts, and will share the same file format, allowing documents to be passed back and forth between platforms. Rather than the subscription model favoured by Adobe, Affinity apps come at a one-off cost of £39.99.

“We already have an early build of Affinity designer on our Pcs”

micRO:bits Tiny computer escapes schools The BBC micro:bit is a computer the size of a credit card. Yes, you read that right. And the fun continues, as it features 25 red LED lights that can flash messages, and has two programmable buttons. The device also detects motion, tells you which direction you’re heading in, and has a low-energy Bluetooth connection. Micro:bits are now available for sale, including from Amazon and the Microsoft Store, for £12.99.

full of eNergy Power isn’t a problem, it will run from two aa batteries

a lIttle bIt quIcker remember the bbc Micro? Well, this is eighteen times faster

It’s all WrIte the Micro bit is compatible with programming languages such as Python

Oculus Rift What’s that then? A virtual reality helmet with a silly name, developed by a company now owned by Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg. Isn’t it out already? You must be referring, attentive reader, to the feature we ran in our September 2015 edition that covered the Rift and other systems, both for virtual and augmented reality. Rift development kits have been available for a while, but, by the time you read this, actual finalised products should be available to buy. Do I need a huge Pc to use one? Merely a quad-core Intel i7 and an Nvidia GTX 970 graphics card or better. No biggie. It’s aimed at gamers, among whom that kind of power is considered ‘barely adequate’. What can I do with one? Play games, mostly, with the headmounted display providing a threedimensional screen that completely fills your field of view. AdRift is a good example, putting you in a situation similar to the movie Gravity. Other applications involve exploring a virtual copy of the Apollo 11 landing site, Paul McCartney’s immersive cinematic Jaunt VR, and a virtual cinema to play films on the big screen. My laptop has an i5 and integrated graphics… will that do? You’re out of luck unless you upgrade. Alternatively, you could try one of the competing systems such as Sony’s PlayStation VR (if you own a PS4) or the Samsung and LG offerings that plug into your smartphone. What all of these show is that VR is currently in its very earliest stages as a consumer product, and could still go the way of 3D TVs: nice to have, but hardly essential. If it takes off, however, this is the point where we can say a revolution started.

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DEN IAN EVEN ERT P X E TECH

Snap happy Snap two windows alongside each other in Windows 10 by dragging the title bar of one to the extreme left or right corner. Then, when a ghost window appears on that side of the screen, pick another one from your currently open windows to snap alongside it. Once you click, the two windows will fill the screen, with the border between them adjustable by dragging the mouse. Un-snap a window at any time by clicking one of its window control buttons, or just drag one away from the top of the screen. Pressing the Windows key plus the right or left arrow will snap your currently active window to the left or right side of the screen, respectively.

Show the desktop On the right of Windows 10’s taskbar, near the system tray that contains your resident program icons, there’s a thin bar that’s often overlooked. This is the ‘Show Desktop’ button, and clicking it will minimise every active window, showing you your desktop. To get back to what you were working on, you’ll have to restore the window you want. There’s slightly more to it, though – right-click the button and select ‘Peek at Desktop’, you’ll still get to see your desktop in all its icon-cluttered glory, but as you move your pointer away all your windows will roll back into place.

Control your desktop icons By default, Windows 10 puts a few icons on your desktop, such as your Home folder and the Recycle Bin. There are extras you can add, though – find these in Desktop Icon Settings. Pop up the Start menu and head to ‘Settings > Personalisation > Themes’, then select ‘Change Desktop Icons’. A window will appear with checkboxes for the most common icons, so you can make Recycle Bin, Computer or Network icons appear or disappear as you wish. You can also change the icons for these, if you’ve downloaded a new icon pack. For example, you could have Windows 8 icons on a Windows 10 desktop if you think it’s more aesthetically pleasing.

Struggling to get something to work? Need a tip?

Then email us your woes (to windowsmagazine@futurenet.com with the subject line ‘Windows Insider’) and we’ll share your perfect Windows tweaks in a future issue.

Have your say

Tip of the month

Send feedback to MS more easily New app opens up new channels Microsoft has rolled out a whole new way for users to send in any feedback about Windows 10. An app called Feedback Hub is now available from the Microsoft Store on both desktop and mobile. You can use the app to either report problems or make new suggestions, and each piece of feedback you add can be left under a category along with any additional screenshots or images.

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Microsoft has also added a trending feedback stream that users can search through and check they’re not leaving the same feedback over and over again. The app has been available to Windows Insiders for some time now, but making it available to all Windows 10 users is a big step forward for learning more about what regular people do and don’t love about the newest operating system.

| September 2016

HAve your sAy Let Microsoft know exactly what you think with the Feedback Hub app


Discover It’s good to talk

Metal Gea r Plastic

Download this…

How 3D printers can enhance our bodies

Freemake video converter http://downloads.techradar.com/ downloads/freemake-video-converter

Not just for printing toy cars, the rapid assembly technology could possibly improve our actual lives

C

reating a bionic hand on a 3D printer, then attaching it straight to the body of someone who needs it sounds like science fiction. But it’s closer to reality than you might think – and some of the first designs out of the nozzle are based on… science fiction. UK-based company Open Bionics previously designed a prosthetic arm based on game series Metal Gear Solid, and has now announced an affordable, 3Dprintable hand based on the prosthetics seen in Ubisoft’s Deus Ex games. Set in the near future, Deus Ex explores the the relationships between ‘normal’ people and those who have been enhanced with cybernetic additions. This being a videogame, that relationship often dissolves into shooting. The hand designs will be provided royalty free, allowing anyone with a 3D printer to modify and create them at home. And while the hands may not contain the full range of movement and offensive weaponry seen in the game, they certainly look the part.

Meanwhile, 3D printers continue to baldly go where none have gone before as US boffins at MIT’s media lab have worked out how to make them print hair. The prototype system, known as Cilllia, can define the angle, thickness, density and height of thousands of hairs, including bristles, fur, and structures as thin as real human hair. That could mean 3D-printed wigs and hair extensions on shelves soon, but the main goal of the project is to see if 3D-printed hair could perform other tasks. In the natural world, hair-like structures tasks include sensing, adhesion, and moving objects around. “We’re trying to think how we can utilise 3D printing, and create new functional materials whose properties are easily tunable and controllable," Jifei Ou, lead author of a paper describing the project. “With our method, everything becomes smooth and fast," he added. “Previously it was difficult, because who’s going to take a whole day to render a whole rabbit, and then take another day to make it printable?”

Freemake is much more than a simple YouTube video downloader. It supports more than 500 audio and video formats. The formats are organised in profiles for specific devices, so you can tell the app if you’re making a clip for Xbox 360 or PSP, etc, and it’ll pick the appropriate format. The software can convert between more than 500 video codecs and gadget-appropriate formats, and it can also download, convert and save many streaming formats from the internet, such as YouTube and Facebook videos. So if there’s something you want to watch video on, there’s a good chance Freemake can convert your video for watching on it. It burns to DVD and Blu-ray too if you have the appropriate hardware. If you’re looking for a do-everything video app, this should definitely be on your shortlist.

we got it on video Freemake will handle all of your video conversions

Follow us on… www.twitter.com/windowsmag

uiz The 60-SecondmQ e sta rts no w! Pe ns at th e rea d y, yo u r ti

1

At this year’s E3, how many new Xboxes did Microsoft announce?

3

Which developer is making a new Spider-man game?

5

The new Elder Scrolls game, which will be number...

A) 2 B) 5 C) 6

A) Inanimate B) Insomniac C) Increasingly

A) 3 B) 6 C) 7

2

4

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A) Breast of the Duck B) Breath of the Wild C) Breadth of the Beam

A) Tudor English B) Australia, last year C) Old Norse

A) 720p B) 1080p C) 4k

Sony’s God of War has moved to which time period?

NEXT ISSUE ON SALE August

Microsoft’s Project Scorpio will play games in...

Answers 1A, 2B, 3B, 4C, 5C, 6C

What’s the name of the next Zelda game from Nintendo?

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10.12 Ian Evenden reveals a host of fascinating digital facts

320GB/S

The memory bandwidth being touted by Microsoft for its next-gen Xbox games console, Project Scorpio, at announced at this year’s E3. That much bandwidth means the new box will have 12GB of GDDR5 RAM, or a smaller amount of faster memory. We won’t know until the final specs are out.

At its World Wide Developers’ Conference this summer, Apple rebranded OS X to macOS, and version 10.12 will be named Sierra. This brings its name in line with Apple’s other products, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. Mac owners should be able to upgrade in the autumn.

1000 cores

The power boasted by a new CPU created by researchers at the University of California. The chip can carry out 1.78 trillion instructions per second, and along with this power comes energy efficiency – the chip uses only 0.7w and could be powered by a single AA battery. It’s expected to find uses in video encoding and encryption.

FROM

MADRiD TO PARiS The distance the Ethernet cables used at the E3 technology showcase in Los Angeles would stretch if laid end to end. The Ethernet cables alone weigh two tonnes, and are supplemented by 55 miles of fibre optics and ten miles of power extension cables. E3 features more than 35,000 video monitors and more than 6,000 pieces of furniture.

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“What film features the fictional tech company Blue Book?”

#SMARTERMOVIEMAG


Incoming

The hottest new Windows hardware on the horizon

HP Omen X £TBA www.hp.com This is a PC that you wear as a backpack, but why would you want to do that? It’s actually designed to run virtual-reality software, so just attach a headset and you’re all good to go for some cable-free VR gaming. Sounds good to us!

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Take the smart movie quiz... www.gamesradar.com/new-totalfilm-quiz

#SMARTERMOVIEMAG


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Windows 10 50 best apps

50 BEST APPS Nick Peers shares the 50 best apps for Windows 10. Download them now and get more from your PC today!

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Image-editing for experts If you want a complete set of professional-level editing tools without the cost, then Paint.NET (free, www.getpaint.net) is the best there is. Support for multiple layers, powerful filters and the ability to extend its capabilities further with a series of community-written plugins make Paint.NET an essential tool in anyone’s creative toolkit.

Improve your Wi-Fi signal One of the biggest problems with wireless connections is the overlapping of networks, causing dropouts and performance issues. Wi-Fi Analyzer (free, Microsoft Store) provides you with a handy summary of your network, plus lets you compare it to other networks, suggesting the best channel to switch it to in order to minimise interference and boost performance.

Access OneDrive files If you don’t want to sync all or any of your OneDrive files with a specific PC, or you want access to files across multiple OneDrive accounts, then the OneDrive app (free, Microsoft Store) has you covered. Open files direct from the cloud, make edits and save the changes, plus upload new files directly from your device via drag and drag.

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Windows 10 50 best apps

Learn new languages Need to brush up on your linguistic skills, or want to learn a new language from scratch? DuoLingo (free, Microsoft Store) is the perfect, easy-to-follow tool that’ll teach you up to 12 new European languages in a series of lessons divided into modules and tests. Visit www.techradar. com/1314224 for a complete guide.

Access cloud documents If you have documents and photos scattered across multiple cloud providers, and want a simple, fuss-free way to access them from one place, then TOPDOX (free, Microsoft Store) is the place to turn to. It currently works with OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox and Box, and allows you to view document files directly and print them too.

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Project-manage with ease Wunderlist (free, Microsoft Store) is a powerful cross-platform tool that makes it easy to plan and manage everything from small tasks to huge projects in one place. Everything’s organised into folders, lists and to-do items, all of which can be assigned to individuals, with deadlines, notes, attachments and more. You’ll never have to remember anything again.

Photo editing made easy If you don’t need advanced image-editing tools and just want to quickly spruce up your photos, then Adobe Photoshop Express (free with in-app purchases, Microsoft Store) is the app to go for. And if you sign in with an AdobeID, selected Premium features such as ‘Premium Looks’ and ‘Reduce Noise’ are free to use.

Edit videos like a pro When it comes to editing your holiday movies, you can’t do much better than Windows Movie Maker, which is part of Windows Essentials (free, http://windows.microsoft.com/ en-gb/windows/essentials). Just drag your clips onto the timeline, place them in the correct order, trim unwanted parts, add soundtrack and narration and edit them together using a mix of transition effects.

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Windows 10 50 best apps

Access news feeds RSS remains a great way for websites to share their latest news stories with you, and Feedly is one of the best online tools for organising these feeds into one location. Nextgen Reader! (£3.05, Microsoft Store) works with your Feedly account to give you access to your subscribed feeds from a single, convenient app.

Play any video Want to be able to play just about any video file without having to find a suitable player? Install VLC for Windows Store (free, Microsoft Store) and you can add your music and video libraries and play pretty much any format you come across. Need to play DVD videos too? Install the desktop version from www. videolan.org/vlc instead.

Keep apps up to date Free software updates don’t just fix bugs and plug security holes, they often add new features too. Make sure you’re not missing out by installing Personal Software Inspector (free, http://bit.ly/softinspector). It can silently keep apps updated in the background, or you can configure it to alert you when updates become available so you stay in full control of the process.

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Reduce eyestrain at night If you work late into the night, the glare of your monitor will adversely affect your sleep patterns as well as hurt your eyes. Install f.lux (free, https://justgetflux.com/) and it’ll automatically change the colour temperature of your display after dark to provide a warmer, less intense view that’s easier on your eyes.

Remove programs thoroughly Once you’ve installed a few of these great apps you may discover one or two you don’t really use. Make sure they’re completely removed – along with other unwanted apps – with the help of IObit Uninstaller (free, www. iobit.com/en/advanceduninstaller. php). Its powerful scan removes leftover files and Registry entries – just make sure you untick the option to install the full Advanced SystemCare suite during installation.

Office for all the family Free office suites are all well and good, but Microsoft Office 365 Home (£7.99/mo, www.office.com) is exceptional value considering it covers five PCs and Macs in your home, plus gives you 1TB storage on OneDrive. You get the latest versions of Office, plus you can install powerful mobile versions on up to five tablets and five phones too.

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Windows 10 50 best apps

Record and edit audio Want to record narration or edit an existing audio file? The best tool for the job is Audacity (free, www. audacityteam.org). You can record through a mic, capture streaming audio or – with the right cables – capture sound from an external source such as a cassette player or turntable. Then use Audacity’s powerful tools to trim, edit and fix noise-related issues like hiss.

Put your finances in order Struggling to stay on top of your money? Moneywiz (£18, www. moneywizapp.com) has everything you’d expect from a top personal finance package, and can sync (via separate purchases) to your phone and tablet too, giving you access to an up-to-date picture of your finances from wherever you are – handy if you can’t remember if you’ve enough money for a night out, for example.

Manage your passwords securely If you use LastPass Premium (US$12/ year, www.lastpass.com) to keep your online passwords safe and easy to access, but don’t want to have to open your browser to get at them, install the LastPass app (free, Microsoft Store). This lets you view your passwords, secure notes and form fillers – copy and paste them into another app window, plus edit them too.

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Manage your email Looking for a versatile email client that works with just about any email account? Thunderbird (free, www. getthunderbird.com) offers all the core functionality you need, plus some handy extras like linking large email attachments (via third-party plugins) to your cloud storage, making them easy to share with others without clogging up inboxes.

Detailed battery stats The Battery taskbar notification area icon provides basic detail about your laptop’s battery. Install Save Battery (free, Microsoft Store) and you can access lots more useful detail, such as when it was last plugged in, its discharge rate and overall health. You can set battery alerts too, but the history feature requires upgrading to the Pro version (£1.19).

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Windows 10 50 best apps

Catalogue your photo collection Staggering under the weight of all your holiday snaps and other photos? You need Adobe Bridge (free Adobe ID required, www.adobe.com/uk/ products/bridge.html). This free tool lets you combine photos into collections, make them easier to identify through the use of metadata and tags. It even helps you import photos from your scanner or camera.

Take a failsafe backup What happens if you’re forced to reinstall Windows? Even if your data is backed up or stored on a different drive, the time taken reinstalling all your programs and settings after the event can take hours. Take a full system image using Macrium Reflect Free (free, www.macrium.com/ reflectfree.asp) and you need never worry about losing programs, settings or data again.

Open any compressed file Windows 10 ships with built-in support for zip files, but what happens if you come across a different kind of compressed file – such as .rar or .7z? Don’t worry, 7-Zip (free, www.7-zip.org) will allow you to not only access these file archives, it can also peek inside virtual hard disks and create archives in common formats too.

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Build your family tree Starting out with researching your family history? Want to dip your toe into the water without spending any money? My Family Tree (free, https:// chronplexsoftware.com) is the most fully functional freebie there is – all the core tools you need to put your tree together, plus handy extras like the ability to view your ancestors’ haunts on a map.

Clean out your PC We often need reminding to keep hard drives free from clutter, so it keeps your PC running as efficiently as possible. Trimming startup programs and cleaning out various parts of your computer will help achieve maximum speed. CCleaner (free, www.piriform.com) will help you stay on top of system maintenance and prevent slowdown.

Publish your own book Fancy becoming a self-published author? BookWright (free Blurb account required, www.blurb.co.uk/ bookwright) is powerful, yet intuitive, software that will be familiar to anyone with experience of desktoppublishing software. Select your book type, supply the content and use BookWright to turn it into a professional-looking publication for printing or distributing electronically through the Blurb website.

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Windows 10 50 best apps

Keep notes simple

If you’re looking for a simple tool for keeping notes across all your devices, Simplenote (free, https://simplenote. com) is the app to choose. It works on all major mobile and computing platforms, allowing you to keep your notes in sync between phone and PC easily. Tag and search notes, share lists with others and even restore earlier drafts – all for no cost.

Embrace portable applications We love portable apps – these are special versions of programs that contain themselves to a single folder on your PC, with no Registry entries or files cluttering up other directories, allowing them to be run on other PCs from a USB drive. Use the PortableApps Platform (free, www. portableapps.com) to find and manage these via a Start menu-like interface.

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Get a media centre PC Hook up your PC to the big screen in style with Kodi (free, https://kodi.tv). It provides you with a media centre front end you’ll be happy to show off to friends and family as you browse your digital movie collection, play DVDs and watch catch-up TV. Pair it with the Kodi remote-control app on your phone and you can park yourself on the sofa for the evening.

Become a virtual artist Indulge your creative side with Microsoft’s fabulous Fresh Paint app (free with in-app purchases, Microsoft Store). Take your virtual pens, pencils, oils or watercolours and either draw freehand on a variety of surfaces (including canvas) or take some partially coloured sketches (or your own photos to paint over) and fine-tune your painting skills.

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Create postcardstyle collages Make the most of your holiday snaps by turning them into attractive collages with El Collagero (free, Microsoft Store). Choose your template, then select your photos before setting the page layout, background and frames. Add some text and tweak the colours and spacing between photos to perfection, then save to print or share to another app.

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Edit text with style Notepad is fine for basic text-editing, but if you’re looking to step up, then EditPad Lite (free for personal use, www.editpadlite.com) is an essential upgrade. Open multiple files in tabs and switch between them, enjoy unlimited undo and automatic backups as you type, plus store multiple text snippets for easy access via the Clip Collection.

View and create PDFs PDFs ensure that documents you share look the same on whichever computer or platform they’re viewed on. These days, all good free PDF reader tools can create PDFs from other sources too, and our current favourite is Foxit Reader (free, www. foxitsoftware.com), which also has the benefit of being light on system resources and it’s extremely fast too.

Batch convert your photos Why manually perform the same edits on a group of photos when XNConvert (www.xnview.com) lets you select a batch of photos, then queue up different transforms, adjustments, filters, effects and more (such as metadata or file conversion) to perform on them with just one click? It’s fast and ensures consistent results every time.

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Stay on top of your studies Struggling to keep on top of your study planner? MyStudyLife (free, Microsoft Store) is a free crossplatform service for students, teachers and lecturers, enabling you to plan and store classes, homework, exams and more. Currently in beta, teachers can even share timetables securely with their students too.

Super-powered note-taking Simplenote is great for quick notes, but if you want a fully featured digital notebook with support for annotations, photos, lists and even freehand sketches, then Microsoft OneNote (free, Microsoft Store) is a better bet. You can even transfer content from other apps, services and websites via a variety of third-party tools (including Microsoft Edge).

Run virtual machines Virtual PCs allow you to run older and alternative operating systems like Windows 7 or even XP – they’re a great way to continue using older software (and some USB hardware) that’s no longer compatible with Windows 10. All you need to supply is a legal copy of Windows, then run VirtualBox (free, www.virtualbox.org) along with the Extensions Pack.

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Get useful system info Want to find out more about the makeup of your PC? Need to keep an eye on the temperature of your computer while you’re running intensive tasks? Install Speccy (free, www.piriform.com) and it’ll reveal all kinds of useful detail, not just about the hardware in your system, but also Windows itself (including your product key).

Faster, easier web browsing All web browsers are pretty much the same, aren’t they? Not really. Opera (www.opera.com) has made a striking bid for uniqueness with a sleek, simple interface and the ability to sync your settings between multiple devices. Also, recent updates have introduced native ad-blocking, VPN for secure browsing and power-saving for laptops and tablets.

Listen to audiobooks One of the best ways to kill long, tedious journeys – particularly if you’re driving – is with an audiobook. And the go-to place for getting digital audiobooks is Amazon’s Audible. Install the Audible app (free, Microsoft Store) on your PC and you can buy, manage and – crucially of course – listen to your purchases on your computer too.

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Plan your next trip Whether you need help with travel, days out, hotels or things to do while on holiday, the Tripadvisor app (free, Microsoft Store) has you covered. Not only can you find what you’re looking for, but you can book directly through the app too, comparing prices to get the best possible deal. Look out for the areas of interest section, giving you ideas for your next break.

Make stunning presentations Looking for an original way to showcase your last holiday, or share a family story? Perhaps you want to wow someone with a presentation. Microsoft Sway (free, Microsoft Store) lets you blend together text, photos, videos and other elements – such as embedded maps – in an eye-catching presentation you can share online. It does all the hard work of laying them out too.

Root out large files Wondering why your hard drive is full up? Can’t identify where the space-hogging files are? Let SpaceSniffer (free, http://www. uderzo.it/) root them out for you by providing a handy graphical representation of your hard drive. Be sure to run it as an administrator to allow it to access your entire disk and provide accurate results.

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Windows 10 50 best apps

Manage eBooks on your PC If you have any kind of eBook reader, then Calibre (free, https://calibreebook.com/) is your one-stop solution. Choose your eBook reader model when installing, then use it to obtain, manage, convert and transfer eBooks to and from your reader. You can even use it to edit eBooks too.

Add clock to Start menu Make the most of your Start menu’s live tiles capabilities by pinning a clock that updates in real time on it. Analog Live Tile Clock (free, Microsoft Store) lets you pick a colour scheme, dial, hand design, colour and even lets you pick your own background image too. Extra effects such as shadow and glass round off a simple, effective app.

Rip and convert video Sometimes you need video files in a specific format so they’ll work with your phone or another device. MP4 is the most common format around, and Handbrake (free, www. handbrake.fr) can convert video from most formats into MP4 – it can even be used to quickly optimise video for playback on specific devices too.

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Make voice and video calls These days Skype (free, www.skype. com) is considered to be the go-to tool for instant communication. Not only does it allow you to stay in touch via text messages with friends, family, colleagues and – well anyone – you can also make voice and video calls to other Skype members for free too. The other side of the world just felt that bit closer.

Navigate more efficiently How much time do you lose to wading through your file system looking for the right file? Listary (free and Pro versions, www.listary.com) can revolutionise your workflow by making it easy to file and access any file or folder on your system direct from any open or save dialogue box. You’ll never waste time with futile searches again.

Expand your knowledge Want to give you children extra tuition in core subjects from economics and maths to science and humanities? Khan Academy (free, Microsoft Store) is aimed at all ages from pre-schoolers upward, and if you sign up for a free account you can tailor your child’s learning accordingly, or brush up on subjects yourself.

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Windows 10 50 best apps

Customise Windows 10 easily There are many ways you can change Windows 10 to suit your personal tastes, but many of these are hidden behind obscure Registry settings and hard-to-find settings. Ultimate Windows Tweaker 4.1 (free, http:// bit.ly/uwt-win10) puts these tweaks within easy reach via clickable options. Roll your mouse over an option for an extended description of what it does.

Write all about it It’s good to get what’s in your head out onto paper (or screen). Writr (free, Microsoft Store) is a free app that asks you various questions, so you can ruminate and type the answers out, giving you a chance to spend a little time reflecting. Tools include backup and (in beta only) platform sync. n

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windows tips

internet advice

Welcome Whether you’re stuck for inspiration or want to become a master of your Windows computer, our Explore section is the place to come. Each month we pack in tutorials covering a range of subjects suitable for all levels of expertise. This month we dive into the joys of internet radio, and show you how to set it up on your PC. There’s also a wealth of guides to improving your PC, making it run faster and restoring files you might have deleted. We’ll also help you get creative and turn your photos into art. It’s all here! Graham Barlow Editor-in-chief graham.barlow@futurenet.com

exciting new projects

Full listing… 40 Get started with TuneIn Radio and listen to stations online

54 Use File Explorer to access the different content on your PC

44 Take control of your email with the brilliant and free PopTrayU app

58 Test the speed of your internet connection and improve it

48 Restore accidentally deleted files with the Recuva app

60 Free up space on your Windows PC so it runs more smoothly

50 Transform your photos into art to be proud of with Autodesk Pixlr

Your guide Rob Mead-Green says…

“Enjoy easy access to thousands of radio stations and podcasts worldwide – for free!” Turn to page 40 for more

Our promise to you…

Get more from Windows, software and all your favourite sites

packed with informative tutorials

get more from your favourite websites

Every issue, we guarantee to pack the magazine with great tutorials teaching you all the best things you can do with your PC. Each article features step-by-step instructions to make learning new skills fast and enjoyable.

We all have our list of favourite sites but often we miss out on great features because they’re difficult to use or hidden from sight. We’ll show you how to do more online, for a more satisfying web life.

customise windows to work your way

discover new programs with our help

We all know how to do the basics but getting the most from Windows isn’t always easy. Our dedication to the operating system means you get the very best tips and tricks for all versions of Windows.

From speed-up and security software to superb photo apps, there’s always something new to try on your PC. The Windows Store in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 is packed with software to download. September 2016 |

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Learn how to…

Get started with TuneIn

Your guide Rob Mead-Green says…

“Enjoy easy access to thousands of radio stations and podcasts worldwide – for free! Here’s how…”

At a glance Skill level…

Anyone can do it Straightforward Tricky in parts

Suitable for…

Windows 10 Windows 8.1 Windows 10 Mobile Windows Phone 8.1 Windows Phone 8

uneIn Radio is the world’s biggest audio network, giving you access to over 100,000 live radio stations around the globe – as well as tons of podcasts and on-demand content. There are both free and premium versions (which costs from just £5.53 per month) giving you access to even more goodies, including audiobooks. But you don’t have to pay a penny to enjoy the overwhelming majority of its programming. Just download the free app for Windows 10 from the Windows store, tune in and enjoy. Things get even better when you create a user ID – as you can sync your favourite stations and shows across all your devices. You can even listen to your favourite shows when you’re not at your PC using any web browser by logging into tunein.com. We’re going to show you how to do exactly that in this tutorial.

T

BAck BuTTon Click here to go back to the TuneIn Radio main menu. This enables you to view your profile, recommendations, browse available content and search for specific items.

MAIn wIndow This displays the currently playing programme / content on the left, along with a list of recommended stations in the same vein on immediate right.

PlAyBAck If you’re listening to a live broadcast, most of these options aside from Play, Pause and Stop are greyed out. The Cue and Review buttons light up when you’re listening to ondemand content.

Step-by-step Make the most of TuneIn Radio

on 1 Turn The best way to enjoy TuneIn’s goodness is to download the

app from the Windows Store (http://bit.ly/1YlKqgP). Although it’s built for Windows 10, it’ll also work on older Windows 8.1 as well as on Windows 10 Mobile and Windows Phone 8 or later. Once installed, fire it up, and allow TuneIn to access your location. This enables the app to choose the radio stations closest to you.

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fed 2 Get TuneIn Radio lets you get started right away by presenting

you with recommendations, arranged in a grid you can scroll through. Below each station is a ‘Follow’ button, so you can add it to your favourites. They are listed under your profile and synced to your devices where you use TuneIn. They also appear under your profile when you login to the tunein.com


Explore Get started with TuneIn Radio Jargon buster! Audiobooks These are a great way to enjoy audio versions of some of your favourite books – often read by famous actors or by their authors. Audiobooks are only available on TuneIn by subscription. Podcasts A great alternative to regular radio listening, podcasts include offline versions of live radio shows (the BBC does lots of these) as well as specially created audio content.

TIMelIne The timeline shows you how far into a current broadcast / podcast, etc you are. You can click and drag the green slider to instantly scrub backwards and forwards (ondemand content only).

Follow You can follow (or unfollow) a station or other audio programme by clicking on the Follow button. Followed stations are added to your profile.

on-demand A great way to catch up with any shows you’ve missed... and discover others you didn’t know you had.

do More The More button gives you more options, including the ability to Pin a station to Windows’ Home menu. You can also Share what you’re listening to, visit a station’s web page or get app help.

a profile 3 Create Choose Profile and TuneIn Radio will give you the option to

login using Facebook or Google, or sign up using a few basic details such as your name and email address. Doing so enables you to keep track of your favourite radio stations, on-demand programmes and podcasts on all your devices. This is worth doing if you listen to the same stations regularly, on different devices.

Rob’s best tip! When you follow a station using the tuneIn Radio app, it appears in the order in which you’ve followed it. to sort them login into tuneIn .com using your web browser, select profile then click-and-drag.

your favourites 4 Find If you fancy listening to something other than TuneIn’s

recommendations, use the Browse and Search tabs. Click ‘Browse’ and you’ll be rewarded with options – including Local Radio (based on your location) as well as categories such as Music, Talk and Podcasts. You can also browse by location and language, so if you’ve always wanted to listen to French radio, now’s your chance. September 2016 |

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some music 5 Find Click the Music tab and you’ll see a list of recommended

radio stations and genres for you to enjoy. Tapping a genre leads you down further avenues of audio discovery. As soon as you find something you like, click ‘Follow’ to add it to you list of favourites. You can do this for as many genres as you like. And, of course, you can do this for all the other kinds of radio you like too.

podcasting 7 Go If you fancy something different, go back to the main menu

and select ‘Podcasts’. Just as with regular radio there are thousands of podcasts to choose from. Again you can search and follow your favourites. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any way to subscribe to podcasts or download them for later listening. Maybe this will be addressed in a future update.

start 9 Quick If there’s a station you regularly tune into, add it to your

Home menu. Click the three dots inside the circle in the top right side of the Play screen, then select ‘Pin To Home’. You can also use this menu to share what you’re listening to on social media, by email or by message. You can also use this menu to visit a station’s web page or get help about using the TuneIn app.

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and save 6 Search One thing you’ll notice about TuneIn Radio is it can be

US-centric. If you’re struggling to find a station using the methods above, you can search for your favourites instead. Click ‘Search’ and start typing using the search field at the top of the main window. Type in ‘BBC6’, for example, and you see the relevant stations, and individual programmes that are available too.

in 8 Tune Once you’ve found something you want to listen to, click

‘Play’. You’ll now be taken to the Play screen, which shows the station on the left, recommendations on the right and play controls at the bottom. If you’re listening to live radio, most controls are greyed out. If you’re listening to on-demand content, you can use the Cue and Review buttons too, or use the slider.

pro 10 Go To make the most of the TuneIn Radio app take out a

subscription. Your first seven days are free and it only costs $7.99 (£5.53) per month after that. In return, you’ll get a wealth of content including Premium channels, access to 40,000 audiobooks and 600 ad-free radio stations. It’s well worth it – especially if you’re an avid radio listener like us! ■


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Learn how to…

Take control of your email Your guide Nick Peers says…

“Preview – and manage – your email before downloading it with a brilliant free tool”

At a glance Skill level…

Anyone can do it Straightforward Tricky in parts

Suitable for… Windows 10 Windows 8.1 Windows 7

mail is still one of the main reasons we go online, but if you’re anything like us, it’s becoming harder to sift through the junk emails just to get to the important messages from friends, family and work, which you actually want to read. And what if a wellmeaning person sends you a massive file that clogs up your connection and eats into your monthly internet allowance? PopTrayU is a simple, free tool that lets you take a peek at your email while it’s still on your mail server. You can delete spam and other unwanted mail without downloading it first, get an early warning to when an important message has arrived and even quickly reply to messages before you download them later. It also supports rules and white/ blacklisting email addresses to help you quickly process different types of mail. Read on to find out how.

E

emAil liST A list of emails waiting to be downloaded from the selected account – click ‘Run E-mail Client’ to do so.

AccounT SelecTion Switch between accounts using these tabs – the number on each indicates how many messages are waiting on the server. emAil conTrolS Click these buttons to perform the specified action – such as deleting or marking as spam – on the selected message(s).

Step-by-step How to set up and use PopTrayU

settings 1 Install Install and download PopTray U from http://poptrayu.

sourceforge.net. When prompted to choose components, expand the Icons section to choose whether or not to allow PopTrayU to run on startup or create a desktop icon. Click ‘Next’ twice, leave ‘Current User Appdata Folder’ selected and finally click ‘Install’.

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SSL plugin 2 Get Once install completes, untick the ‘Run PopTrayU’ option, tick

‘Download SSL Plugin’ and click ‘Finish’ to obtain a plugin that allows you to collect your email over a secure connection. A web page will open pointing to the plugin homepage – click ‘Download’ to get the setup file. Launch and follow the prompts – once finished, leave ‘Start PopTrayU’ ticked and click ‘Finish’.


Explore Take back control of your email Jargon buster!

Nick’s best tiP! PoptrayU may occasionally throw up an error message – click ‘Continue’ to keep running without crashing.

mail server The place where emails are sent to and stored before being delivered to the user’s computer. PoP3 Stands for Post Office Protocol version 3, and is the standard means of receiving email on your computer. Once downloaded, POP3 email is deleted from the mail server. TASkbAr Tool Right-click PopTrayU’s Taskbar Notification area icon to reveal shortcuts including a ‘Check All’ option.

emAil ATTAchmenTS All attachments are listed here – don’t open them directly; instead, save and then scan with your anti-virus tool.

SSl Secure Sockets Layer, a form of encryption that ensures email can be sent and received without its contents being intercepted and read by a third party.

Preview mAil Click the Preview button to review the contents of an email. Use the ‘Mark’ button to mark it important or unread.

account settings 3 Get You need to input the incoming mail server, username and

password for each account you have. This can be gleaned from your email program’s account section, or consult your email or internet provider’s support web pages – remember to note down the settings for the secure SSl/TLS connection, which may involve a different mail server as well as PoP3 port (typically 995.)

account 4 Configure Switch to the main PopTrayU screen (click its envelope

button in the Taskbar Notification area button if necessary). Select the ‘Accounts’ tab on the right and click the ‘Add Account’ button. First, give the account a name and choose a colour to identify it with. Next, fill in the details you recorded in the previous step into the ‘Connection Settings’ area and click ‘Save Account’. September 2016 |

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and fine-tune 5 Test Click ‘Test Account’ at the top of the screen – if you get an

and manage messages 6 View The annotation reveals how PopTrayU works on a daily basis

error, check you’ve entered all the details correctly. Once you get a ‘Login OK’ message you can move on to further tweak the account via the ‘Account Preferences’ section, or include other email accounts you own via the ‘Add Account’ button. Further tweaks can be found on PopTrayU’s ‘Options’ tab.

– listen out for a sound or keep an eye on the program’s Taskbar Notification area icon for new messages. Double-click a message to read it, or right-click it to delete it, mark it as spam or add the sender to your black or white list, which tells PopTrayU if you consider them a spammer or a trusted contact (see Step 9).

screen messages 7 Automatically PopTrayU allows you to create rules that determine how it

your first rule 8 Create Click ‘Add Rule’. Give the rule a name, then set one or more

handles messages based on their content, such as who they’ve been sent from or what keywords are in the subject line. Rules can be targeted at a specific account or applied to all accounts you’ve set up, and can perform different actions. Access them via the ‘Rules’ tab where you can click the ‘Help’ button for a guide.

email senders 9 Manage PopTrayU also allows you to build a collection of white- and

blacklisted email addresses. Whitelisted addresses are protected from any rules you create, while email from blacklisted addresses are automatically deleted. You can add individual email addresses via the main window (right-click a message and choose Lists) or add them yourself via the ‘Options > White/Black List’ window.

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conditions by clicking ‘Add Row’ for each one. Next, select which action or actions to perform if the conditions are met: delete, spam, ignore, log rule, play sound, execute file, change tray icon colour, flag as important via a pop-up and protect against other auto-delete rules. Click ‘Save Rules’ when you’re done.

email, more secure 10 Your You now have a means of vetting email before opening your

email program and downloading it to your PC. Look for the ‘Reply’ button – this allows you to respond to an email without having to download it first. That’s handy if someone’s sent you an unwanted large attachment, or you wish to acknowledge an email without having to download it to your email program first. ■


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Learn how to…

Restore deleted files with Recuva Your guide Cat Ellis says…

“If you’ve accidentally deleted a file, or lost data in a hard-drive crash, don’t panic – Recuva can help you get it back”

At a glance Skill level…

Anyone can do it Straightforward Tricky in parts

Suitable for… Windows 10 Windows 8.1 Windows 7

here are many ways to free up extra space on your hard drive, one of the first things is to hunt down any files you no longer need and delete them, then empty the Recycle Bin. But what if you realise you’ve deleted something important? If the Recycle Bin is empty, surely it’s gone forever? Or what if your hard drive fails, taking your photos and videos with it, or you accidentally wipe a USB stick or memory card? Is it gone forever? When you delete a file from Windows, it isn’t fully removed from your hard drive straightaway. Instead, the space it takes up is marked as ‘available’, so it can be overwritten by new files. Until that happens, you can restore it using a free tool called Recuva. To avoid overwriting any of that space, it’s best to install Recuva now so you’re prepared in case of an emergency. Let’s find your files!

T

Cat’s best tip because there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to restore lost or deleted files, it ’s always a good idea to make regular backups of documents, photos, music and videos.

Step-by-step Recover documents, photos, videos and more

Recuva (and CCleaner if you want it) 1 Install Download Recuva from http://downloads.techradar.com/

downloads/recuva. Once the file has downloaded, run the exe file to install the program. When the installer runs, you’ll see a blue box asking if you want to install CCleaner as well – this is a handy tool for cleaning your hard drive, and is perfectly safe, but select ‘No thanks’ if you’d rather not install it now.

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files and where? 2 What When you need to recover a file, open Recuva and it will

guide you through the process. First, select the type of files you’re looking for, including pictures, emails and videos. If you can, narrow it down to help Recuva focus its search and work more quickly. You’ll then be asked where the files were saved. This will speed up the scanning, but don’t worry if you can’t remember.


Explore Restore deleted files with Recuva

for files 3 Scan Click ‘Start’. Recuva offers a ‘Deep scan’, but it’s time-

consuming and the basic scan will work in most cases. Recuva will check the locations you’ve selected, looking for recently deleted files and check whether they’re damaged. Once it’s finished, you’ll see the files that match your search. The traffic light beside each file shows whether you’ll be able to recover it or not.

try again 5 Try, If Recuva has been unable to find and restore your files,

close the program, then reopen it. Again, select the type of files to look for and the location to search, but this time check ‘Enable deep scan’. This can take quite a while; Recuva will show you a rough estimate of time remaining, but it can be up to an hour for large drives, and longer still if you have multiple drives.

files with Office 7 Repair Microsoft Office programs can attempt to repair damaged

files once they’ve been restored. Once you’ve recovered the file using Recuva, open the program, click ‘File > Open’ and select the document. Click the arrow beside the ‘Open’ button and select ‘Open and repair’. It’s not guaranteed, but it’s worth trying if you’ve been unable to restore an undamaged version of the file.

and save 4 Restore Select the files you want to restore and click ‘Recover’. You’ll

be advised to save them to a different drive, which is important if the one you’re recovering them from is damaged. It’s important to note that even if Recuva has flagged a file as green, it’s not guaranteed to be undamaged when restored. The opposite is also true – occasionally, red files may be salvageable.

scanning 6 Advanced If you know the name of the file you’re looking for, delve

into Recuva’s advanced settings. Open the program, uncheck ‘Show this wizard at startup’ and close the window. Enter the name of the file in the search box, then select the drive to scan and click ‘Scan’. Any files that match your search criteria will appear in the results window below.

ready for anything 8 Be Recuva is also available as a ‘portable app’ – a type of

program that doesn’t need to be installed, so you can simply save it on a USB stick and use it on any PC. It’s a good idea to keep Recuva Portable handy in case of emergencies – download it from http://downloads.techradar.com/downloads/recuva-portable, then copy the exe file to a pen drive. ■ September 2016 |

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Learn how to…

Transform your photos into art Your guide Rob Mead-Green says…

“Turn everyday photos into extraordinary ones with Autodesk Pixlr for Windows 10”

At a glance Skill level…

Anyone can do it Straightforward Tricky in parts

Suitable for… Windows 10 Windows 8.1 Windows 7

hanks to the rise of smartphones almost everyone now has a camera in their pocket or bag – and that’s led to a proliferation of photo-editing apps that can add extra impact to your pictures, without getting buried in the intricacies of Photoshop. To our mind, one of the best photo-editing apps around is Autodesk Pixlr (http:// bit.ly/1WLmx2U). It’s free to download, easy to use and comes with great range of image-editing and enhancement tools as standard – with additional Essentials available when you become a Pixlr member. For serious enthusiasts, there’s also a paid-for Pro option that adds even more powerful image-editing options for just $1.99 (£1.38) per month or $14.99 (£10.38) a year. It’s a great way to turn your photos from ordinary to extraordinary without sweating for hours over your PC’s keyboard. Let’s find out how, shall we?…

T

Menu bAr On the face of it, Pixlr’s menu bar is sparse with only a few windows resizing options on the right. Click the menu icon (top left) to reveal more options.

Tool TileS This is where the real action in Pixlr happens – with hundreds of image-editing options available under eight broad headings.

ZooM Zoom in and around the image you want to edit using the controls. To pan around an image press the spacebar and click the mouse.

Step-by-step How to make the most of Pixlr

and easy 1 Quick You can easily enhance any pic using the options under the

‘Fast tool’ tile, which contains options to crop, straighten and auto-fix pics, among other options. ‘Red Eye’ removes just that, while ‘Heal’ enables you to fix flaws, such as a lamppost sticking out of someone’s head. ‘Focal’ enables you selectively blur an image, while ‘Splash’… let’s see, shall we?

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dash of colour 2 A ‘Splash’ is one of the most powerful tools in Pixlr. It enables

you to selectively remove or add colours contained in an image to great effect. Pressing the ‘Auto’ button (left) removes every trace of colour from the image. You can then add in the colours you want by clicking the ‘Add’ button (middle) and brushing over the part of the image where you want them to appear.


Explore Transform your photos into art Jargon buster!

Rob’s best tip best tip! Not all of the effects and tools pixlr contains are available at first. become a member to get the Essentials pack . Or go pro for more .

bokeh A type of photography that uses a combination of narrow depth of field and light/reflection effects to create beautiful images. Double exposure In photography this is when an image is captured over the top of another – often to great effect. You can fake a double exposure by heading to ‘Refine > Double Exp’.

MeTADATA Want to find out more about the image? Click ‘Metadata’ to reveal more information, such as the date and location where it was shot.

unDo/reDo Made a mistake or added an effect you don’t like? Pressing the ‘Undo/Redo’ buttons lets you to switch back and forth between edits.

closer 3 Move To make sure you only paint the parts of the image where

you want colours to appear, using ‘Zoom’ to zero in on small areas and shade them in using the mouse. Adjust the size and hardness of the brush using the ‘Brush Size’ and ‘Feather’ tools. If you add colour to an area, select ‘Remove’ to brush it away. Or use ‘Undo/ Redo’ at the bottom of the app window.

Tilt-shift This is a camerafocusing effect, which can make big things look tiny (as if they’re toys). You can create something similar using ‘Fast > Focal’.

ShAre When you’re happy with your finished pic, clicking the ‘Share’ button brings up Windows 10’s Sharing pane – enabling to show off your artistry.

and save 4 Check Once you’re happy with your image, click the ‘tick’ button to

temporarily save it. This doesn’t overwrite your original, but it does save the changes you’ve made so far within the Pixlr app. If you don’t do this you’ll lose the changes. To save your image permanently click on the top menu bar and select ‘Save As’ and then give your edited file a new name. September 2016 |

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an effect 5 Cause Our balloon pic is looking good, but we’re not done yet.

Next head to Pixlr’s Effect menu. This contains dozens of filters, which can add subtle and not-so-subtle changes to the overall look of the image. Filters are grouped by category under headings such as ‘Atomic’, ‘Soft’, ‘Subtle’ and ‘Vintage’. You can add as many effects as you like, so feel free to experiment.

a border 7 Draw The ‘Border’ tool tile contains frames to show off your final

an overlay 6 Place As well as filter-type effects, Pixlr gives you the ability to add

overlays. These are translucent layers that you can add on top of your image and includes effects such as ‘bokeh’ and Leaks(which includes a range of light leak effects). Feel free to experiment – some of the effects can look fantastic, others not so much. Remember to click the tick to save the effect before you move on.

your style 8 Choose The ‘Stylize’ tool tile enables you to further enhance your

piece of art. Again it includes a huge range of subtle and not-sosubtle border effects – from old-fashioned film-style sprockets to grungy and fancy borders. You’ll need to become an Essentials member to download and use many of them. Again click the tick to save. And ‘Save As’ to make a permanent change.

image by using embossing effects, similar to the ones in Photoshop. You could turn your photo into a pencil sketch, poster art, a watercolour, as well as other options. Like most Essential effects, they aren’t editable, so you’re stuck with what’s available (although you can change their opacity by adjusting the slider).

a sticker 9 Pick Another great way to customise photos is to add stickers.

something 10 Say Why not add a title before you send your image off into the

Head to ‘Stickers’, choose the one (or ones) you want to add and then click and drag it around your image to see where it looks best. You can resize the sticker using the dotted border handles around each one. You can also rotate it by clicking and dragging its grab handle. Click to tick and ‘Save As’ once you’re done.

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world? Select ‘Type’ and then type what you want in the ‘Say Anything’ text box. You can change its font, text style (bold, italic, etc) and alignment (left, right, centre). Click the white box to bring up a tool to change the text colour. Just as with stickers you can resize and rotate the text just as you wish. That’s it! You’re done. ■


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Learn how to…

Use File Explorer

Your guide Mayank Sharma says…

“Master the File Explorer on Windows 10 to access the different types of content on your PC”

at a glance Skill level…

Anyone can do it Straightforward Tricky in parts

Suitable for… Windows 10 Windows 8.1 Windows 7

indows 10’s File Explorer used to be known as Windows Explorer in earlier versions of the operating system, and as with previous versions, it’s still the main tool you use to navigate your PC. File Explorer is accessible from the taskbar on the Windows desktop and is intuitive to use. File Explorer helps you find, organise, share and work with documents, media files and documents that you have archived or are currently using. Furthermore, in addition to locally available data, it can also access data stored on other computers in your home network thanks to WorkGroups. The File Explorer window is divided into different panes, with a Navigation pane for locating folders on the left, while their contents are displayed on the right-hand side. Once you’ve selected your files, you can then use the various tools built into File Explorer to manage them.

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QUick accESS toolbar The customised Quick Access toolbar with Undo, Redo and Delete buttons.

QUick accESS locationS A personalised list of the most used locations.

onEDrivE FilES Lists the files and folders on the cloud storage service.

librariES The Libraries view has been enabled.

Step-by-step Handle files efficiently

Quick Access 1 Customise The default view of the Windows 10 File Manager is called

Quick Access and it displays a list of recently accessed files and frequently visited folders. Although Windows populates this view automatically, you can add files or folders by right-clicking on them and selecting ‘Pin to Quick Access’ from the context menu. You can also drag and drop a file to the Quick Access folder.

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default view 2 Change If you want a more traditional overview of your PC when

you launch File Explorer, change it to land on the ‘This PC’ view. Open File Explorer, switch to the View tab and click ‘Options’. Use the drop-down menu at the top of the Folder Options window to replace Quick Access with ‘This PC’. If you have File Explorer open to ‘This PC’, you’ll still see the Quick Access folder in the sidebar.


Explore Windows 10 File Explorer Jargon buster! oneDrive This is Microsoft’s file hosting and cloud storage service that offers 15 GB of free space. Universal apps The new Windows 10 apps that can be purchased ones and installed across devices.

contExt-awarE ribbon The content of this area varies depending on your location and the selected item.

nEtwork locationS The E, F and G drives are mapped to folders on other computers in the network.

Quick Access Toolbar 3 Customise An often-overlooked feature of the File Explorer is the Quick

Access toolbar at the top of the window. The toolbar holds buttons for you to perform common operations (which are also rolled into the right-click context menu). By default, the toolbar lists options to create a new folder and display folder properties. Click the reverse eject icon to reveal the other options.

Libraries 4 View The Windows Libraries virtual folders makes it easy to access

files scattered across the disk. However, they are turned off by default in the File Explorer in Windows 10. To enable them, switch to the View tab, click on the Navigation pane’s drop-down menu and select ‘Show libraries’. Once enabled, the File Explorer lets you access the virtual libraries from the Navigation pane on the left. September 2016 |

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OneDrive 5 Access You can access files on oneDrive from within File Explorer. If

files 6 Share One of the best features of File Explorer in Windows 10 is

you’ve signed into Windows 10 with your Microsoft account simply hop over the OneDrive entry in the Navigation menu to view the contents of your cloud drive. To save files to your OneDrive account, copy and paste them into the OneDrive folder or choose OneDrive as the save location within any application.

the ease with which you can share files. Select a file, such as an image file, and then navigate to the Share tab and click on ‘Share’. This brings up a list of installed apps, such as Facebook and Twitter that share files. This list will be updated as you install more Universal apps that support the ability to share files.

Share options 7 More The Share tab in File Explorer includes other ways to share

delete files 8 Permanently When you delete a file, it isn’t actually wiped off your disk

files. Click ‘Email’ to open the installed email app and add a file as an attachment. You can also share files over your network using other options under the Share tab (these will vary depending on the kind of network you’re connected to). Use any of the Homegroup options to share with members of your Homegroup.

a Network drive 9 Map If you work with files that are kept on a remote computer,

File Explorer will help you access these as if they were folders on your local machine. Head to the Home tab, bring up the ‘Easy Access’ drop-down menu and select the ‘Map as drive’ option. Now pick a drive letter for accessing the shared folder and type in the path to the folder on the remote computer.

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and software exists that can recover such files. While this is helpful for accidental deletions, it’s also a cause for concern. The Windows 10 File Explorer includes an option to ensure deleted files are irrecoverable. Head to the Home tab, bring up the ‘Delete’ drop-down menu and select the ‘Permanently Delete’ option.

keyboard overlays 10 Use If you want to ditch the mouse and interact with the

Windows 10 File Explorer from the keyboard, press [Alt] with the File Explorer window in the foreground and Windows will overlay different sections and tabs with keys. Press a listed key to move into a section and Windows will redraw the keys for the relevant subsection. Press [Esc] to head back to the previous section. ■


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Learn how to…

Test the speed of your internet connection Your guide Alex Dale says…

“With one easy-to-use app and a few quick menu tweaks, you can check the speed of your network connection, and boost it by as much as 80%”

At a glance Skill level…

Anyone can do it Straightforward Tricky in parts

Suitable for… Windows 10 Windows 8.1 Windows 7

ne of the main benefits of Windows 10 is that the operating system takes care of any housekeeping by default, constantly scanning the internet for the latest updates and drivers for your software. This means you will get the most stable, safest and up-to-date experience possible. But if your internet connection isn’t the fastest, all that behind-the-scenes churning can disrupt your web browsing experience. Fortunately, with a little know-how it’s possible to lighten your connection’s load and free it up to concentrate on the task at hand. But before you begin tinkering in the settings menu, the first thing you should do is test the speed of your connection, to ensure it really is your network at fault, rather than, say, the servers carrying the video you’re trying to stream. Let’s begin...

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ALex’s best tip Laptop users, if you don’t want to disable updates, but need a quick speed boost, set your device to ‘battery saver ’ mode to pause updates.

Step-by-step Check and boost your connection

the app 1 Download There are many speed-testing apps out there – they work by

connecting your device to servers across the globe, and measuring how long it takes to send and receive a response. Microsoft recommends their own Network Speed Test app, which is free from the Store. There are flashier ones out there, but this one is clear and tells you everything you need to know.

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your speed 2 Checking Click ‘Start’ and the app will test your connection’s

download speed, upload speed and its reaction times. The latter two are important if you play a lot of online games or share large files, but typically internet connections are set up to be much faster at downloading than uploading. It’s rare to get the advertised ‘best case’ speeds, but you can hope for over 50%.


Explore Test the speed of your internet connection

the results 3 Analysing Our recorded download speed (the dark green bar) is a

unnecessary programs 4 Close …it’s time to get creative. Your first port of call should be

paltry 1.26MBps – well below our advertised 6MB speed. As the guide explains, we can stream music or moan about it over Skype, but high-definition video is out of the question. The simpliest fix is to switch to a wired connection or move your PC closer to the router. But if neither is an option...

the Task Master, accessed by pressing [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Del]. Here we can see if there are any unnecessary programs hogging bandwidth. The column to look at is ‘Network’ – we can see Steam is busy downloading a hefty update. Close it, or wait until it finishes. Also check other devices connected to the WiFi network.

off peer-to-peer updates 5 Turn To speed up the rate at which users get updates, Windows

off updates 6 Switch Switching off automatic updates isn’t recommended, but if

10 uses peer-to-peer technology. This means instead of downloading everything from a central server, your PC sends and receives updates from other users’ devices. If you can’t spare the bandwidth, switch it off – ‘Settings > Update & Security > Advanced Options > Choose how updates are delivered’.

troublesome connections to ‘metered’ 7 Set Here’s a sneaky trick if there’s just one WiFi connection (e.g.

a workplace) in your life giving you trouble. Go to ‘Settings > Network & Internet > WiFi > Advanced options’ and activate the ‘Set as metered connection’ option. Until you say otherwise, this will flag the connection up as a pay-as-you-go connection. It isn’t, but it’ll treat it like one – which means no automatic updates.

you need the extra zip, you can do so by typing Services into the search bar, which will bring up this screen. Scroll down to Windows Update, double-click it and change ‘Startup type’ from ‘automatic’ to ‘disabled’ and then press stop. When you’re finished, you can reinstate updates by selecting ‘start’.

8 Success! If you’ve followed all these steps, you should find your

internet connection is in much better health – we’re up to 3.52MBPs (megabytes per second) now. Note that the Network Speed Test App also keeps a record of your past speed tests down the right hand side of the screen. You can clear this by clicking on the menu icon, where the option will become available. ■ September 2016 |

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Learn how to…

Clear up space on your hard drive Your guide Christian Hall says…

“Windows isn’t great at showing you how things are organised on your hard drive, so make TreeSize your first port of call if you’re struggling for space”

At a glance Skill level…

Anyone can do it Straightforward Tricky in parts

Suitable for… Windows 10 Windows 8.1 Windows 7

torage has never been cheaper, but instead of splashing out on an extra hard drive when you need more room, you could just find out what’s hogging space on your computer. TreeSize Free is a fantastic tool for finding out what’s really going on with files on your PC. TreeSize Free can be started from the context menu of a folder or drive, and it shows you the size of that folder and its subfolders. Folders taking up lots of space can be identified at a glance, thanks to a subtle gradient bar. Scan results can be drilled down to file level, and filters can be applied for certain file types. It’s easy to switch between levels and views for size, allocated space, file count, compression rate, sorting and more. You’ll soon know exactly what’s taking up space on your PC, including anything that’s using more than its fair share.

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CHristian’s best tip start treesize Free as an admin to calculate the size of all folders – even ones you don’t usually have access to.

Step-by-step Easily analyse your hard drive’s contents

additional tasks 1 Select As you run the installer you’ll be taken through the usual

wizard asking you to install various features, including a context menu link. You might be used to unchecking these because you find them annoying, but TreeSize is most useful when you have this feature, so keep it! When TreeSize opens you’ll see it start to analyse your hard disk, just like Disk Defragmenter does.

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overview 2 Volume The menu bar provides a lot of shortcuts that you can use to

customise your scans. A graphical overview of the scanned drive or folder is shown behind the directory tree. The arrows in front of each subfolder can be used to expand this view and look into the subfolder’s contents. Hover over a file’s path to see a more detailed view in the grey box.


Explore Clean up your hard drive

levels 3 Expand Choose ‘Expand’ on the menu bar, then select a level to

expand or collapse the directory tree accordingly. You can also use the ‘Full expand’ option to see any folder that is available in the current scan of your drive. You should re-scan every time there are changes to files and folders, or if you want to change which drive you are currently analysing.

options 5 Filtering You’ll see thousands of directories because TreeSize is

visualising your whole drive. If you want to exclude programs from scans – perhaps because you’re already aware of how much space is being taken up by them – go to ‘Options > Filter’. Now enter a term under ‘Pattern’ and choose some parameters to check against. Add more exclusions with the ‘Add pattern’ button.

from Windows 7 Analyse If you kept the option when installing, you should have a

right-click context menu entry for TreeSize scans. This means you can browse to any file or folder in Windows, right-click on it and find out exactly how much space that item is taking up on your hard drive. Essentially, you get the same interface as you would if you were launching TreeSize normally.

drive visualisation 4 Change On the menu bar you can change how you visualise the

data. Your options include ‘Disk size’, ‘Allocated space’, ‘Percentage’ and ‘File count’. The advantage of switching to ‘Percentage’ is that you’ll suddenly see a lot more coloured bars, which can make wading through the directory tree a little easier. You’ll need to use ‘Disk size’ or ‘Allocated space’ to identify file or folder sizes.

gradient 6 Colour If the graphical overview colour isn’t to your liking, you can

choose a new shade. You can also select the blend so instead of the default white-to-yellow, you can make it orange-to-red, for example. Go to ‘Options > Choose gradient’ and select the two colours you’d like to use as the visualisation blend. You’ll be given a few options, but you can define your own under ‘Other colors’.

compression 8 Apply Numerous options are available under the right-click menu.

For example, if you choose ‘Apply NTFS Compression’ then that file’s directory will be compressed, which is ideal for saving space when you’re dealing with bloated folders. Use this method on the worst offenders and you could easily save hundreds of megabytes of space on your hard drive. ■ September 2016 |

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WindoWs 10

CommandLine TriCks Get savvy with the Command Prompt and it will help you get the best out of your PC

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he Windows Command Prompt is powerful yet often overlooked. It harks back to the days of DOS and the command-line, and continued to feature in early versions of Windows. Over time, it’s been forced into the background, as Microsoft has pushed bells and whistles, but the Command Prompt has never been ignored, and continues to play a big role, particularly when troubleshooting. The big headlines may have gone to the new Windows 10 user interface, or some of its more crowd-pleasing features, but the Command Prompt is still nurtured by the Microsoft boffins, and Windows 10 introduced a number of handy improvements to the console window, making it more accessible and easy to use. You can now resize the console window more easily, simply through drag-and-drop – no more messing about with console buffer size settings (although you still can, if you prefer). Word wrap means text doesn’t get lost off-screen, forcing you to horizontally scroll to read particularly long lines of text. You can now easily select parts of the console output with your mouse, and copy them to the clipboard with

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just one click (or, more precisely, one right-click). There are even useful new text-selection key combinations, which helps speed things up further, too. But even without these features, the Command Prompt remains a powerful and vital tool in any selfrespecting PC user’s armoury. So why let Linux have all the fun with its Terminal, when you can give your computer some command-line attention in Windows, too? Join us as we dissect the Command Prompt, and reveal how to best use it.


Windows 10 Command-line tricks

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Y

ou may already have a basic backup plan in place – Windows 10 makes this easy by offering you a choice of two routes, including both ‘Backup’ and ‘Restore’ from Windows 7, and ‘File History’ from Windows 8. They’re easy to access and set up – search the ‘Start’ menu or Cortana for ‘backup’. Both focus on producing backups of key documents, photos, and other personal data, and can back up to any drive that’s visible to your PC, including network attached storage. Rule one of our backup strategy is to make use of multiple backup locations. Neither ‘File History’ nor ‘Backup and Restore’ allow you to back up to alternate locations, but if you’re running Windows 10, you can employ both together to get around this restriction. Configure ‘File History’ to back up to one location – we recommend a drive physically attached to your PC – and use ‘Backup and Restore’ to back up to another drive, preferably a shared folder on your network drive. ‘File History’ constantly monitors for changes and backs up as necessary, while you should schedule ‘Backup and Restore’ to run weekly at a time that won’t interfere with your PC use – say, lunchtime on the weekend.

system backups

Your data is taken care of, but what about Windows? If disaster strikes,

You can quickly and easily switch folders

you could find yourself spending days getting your PC set up again – but if you take a full system backup (known as a ‘drive image’), you can have your PC up and running again within an hour. Windows offers to create a system image when you set up ‘Backup and Restore’, but there are weaknesses. First, each backup requires tens of gigabytes of space on your PC. Second, images aren’t verified when they’re created, so you’ve no way of knowing if you can rely on them. And third, images are only stored on a single drive.

Eliminate all three weaknesses by employing the services of our favourite drive-imaging tool, Macrium Reflect. We’ve used it to back up (and rescue) Windows countless times over the past five years, and nothing comes close to it. Start with the powerful Free version at www.macrium.com/ reflectfree.asp, which solves the issue with space by using differential images that take up much less room by only recording the changes made since the last backup was taken. Launch Macrium Reflect Free once installed, and click ‘Create an image of

System File Checker o

ne of the best-known Command Prompt tools is System File Checker (SFC), and most know that typing sfc / scannow should, in theory, detect corrupt system files and replace them with working backups. But, it’s not always successful – if you get a message telling you Windows Resource Protection was unable to fix the files it found, try the following. First, generate a text file with the information required to track down the files SFC couldn’t fix: findstr /c:”[SR]” %windir%\Logs\CBS\ CBS.log ”%userprofile%\Desktop\ sfcdetails.txt” Now open the sfcdetails.txt file – this is a filtered view of the CBS.log, containing only the files SFC couldn’t fix. Identify the corrupt files, and source working versions from another PC running the same version of Windows. Now issue the following commands for each corrupt file, replacing path with the file’s path (such as C:\ Windows\System32), and corruptfile with its full filename (jscript.dll):

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takeown /f path \ corruptfile icacls path \ corruptfile / GRANT ADMINISTRATORS:F Copy the file you took from the other PC into the same folder, overwriting when prompted:

copy sourcepath \ sourcefile path \ corruptfile Run SFC again, which should now verify there are no corrupt files. For more, see https://support.microsoft.com/kb/929833.


“Robocopy is designed to copy multiple files and folders in one go – it’s complicated to set up, but incredibly powerful” the partition(s) required to backup and restore Windows’. Next, set your destination – a folder on your backup drive. You might want to change the file name to something more easily recognisable, and take the time to click ‘Advanced Options’ to select ‘Auto Verify Image’ to ensure your backup is checked for errors after it’s been taken. Once done, pick a backup schedule – we recommended pairing one monthly full backup with weekly differential backups, or choosing the ‘Differential Backup Set’ template for more frequent daily backups. Click ‘Next’ followed by ‘Finish’. In the spirit of data redundancy, you should then repeat the process, creating a second definition rule pointing toward your secondary backup drive – speed things up by right-clicking the rule you just created and choosing ‘Duplicate’. Don’t forget to create the rescue media (DVD or 4GB USB flash drive) when prompted by Macrium – this ensures you’ll be able to restore your system even if Windows won’t boot. If you want more features – including incremental backups, and the ability to back up files and folders – upgrade to Macrium Reflect Home Edition for a one-off price.

subscription. One of the best value solutions is to install Office 365 paying on a monthly or a yearly subscription basis – your subscription includes 1TB of cloud storage as well as access to the latest version of Microsoft Office for up to five users. However, there are some reasons to treat cloud storage with suspicion. These include ongoing costs, the security of your data, and what happens if the company in question either goes out of business or discontinues its product, as

users of Wuala and AVG LiveKive cloud storage services have discovered to their cost over the years. In terms of fees, consider prioritising what data you store in the cloud – do you need your videos backed up online, for example? As you have a local backup in place, you could focus on storing important documents and photos in the cloud, where you’re unlikely to run out of space quickly. That way, you can usually get away with free storage plans.

The power of the cloud

These days, backups are synonymous with the word ‘cloud’, the logic being that storing backups in the cloud ensures one copy of your data is kept off-site in a secure location in case of fire, theft, or worse. It makes sense, although there are some drawbacks (see below). The obvious choice when backing up to the cloud is to employ a known solution – Microsoft’s OneDrive service is baked into Windows 10, but alternate trusted sources include Dropbox (www. dropbox.com) and Google Drive (https://drive.google.com). Each service offers limited free plans of around 5–15GB of free storage space, which is fine for personal files, such as documents, photos, and even some video, but if you run out of space, you’ll need to upgrade to a monthly or annual

The ‘tree’ command provides a hierarchical view of any folder

Use ‘netstat’ to find out which programs are opening ports

You can restore familiar UIs for Taskbar notification area icons.

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Customise the Command Prompt efore delving too deep into the Prompt utility, make B Command sure you take the time to

customise its appearance to your personal comfort. To do this, right-click the Command Prompt icon on its menu bar, and choose ‘Properties’. You’ll see options spread out over four tabs: ‘Font’ controls the text type, size and style, while ‘Colors’ lets you change the background and text colours, plus make the window semi-transparent. The ‘Layout’ tab enables you to set the window size in lines (height) and text characters (width), while the Screen Buffer Size height reveals how many lines you can scroll through. The default size should be sufficient – make sure you leave the ‘Wrap text output on resize’ option ticked. The main tab – ‘Options’ – enables you to tweak the command buffer (this is basically your command ‘history’, and you

can cycle through previous commands using the up cursor key). You can also change the mouse cursor size, plus enable or disable various features, many of which are new to Windows 10, such as the ability to copy and paste selected text using the

keyboard (‘Enable Ctrl key shortcuts’). If you’re resolutely old-school and like things as they are, you can tick ‘Use legacy console’, and do without these feature improvements, but in the majority of cases, we suggest leaving well alone.

alternate strategies

Diskpart is a powerful – and potentially dangerous – tool

If you don’t trust your cloud provider’s encryption, add a secondary layer of encryption to sensitive files before uploading them to the cloud. The best tool for this purpose is Viivo (https://viivo.com), which works with multiple cloud providers, and includes

tools for sharing access to files with trusted family and friends. It’s free for personal use, but make sure you keep a separate, unencrypted backup of this data somewhere safe, too, to ensure you’re not locked out of your files for any reason.

There are two principal alternatives to putting your data in the hands of a third-party provider. Both can be used over the internet if you have a fast and unmetered connection, but you can also use them exclusively over your local network, too, ensuring your data never touches the cloud in any shape or form. The first of these options involves syncing data from selected folders directly between two or more computers. It works beautifully over your local network, as well as the wider internet, if necessary. It’s perfect for keeping files in sync between computers you own, and creates an exact copy of your files, so there are no issues with proprietary file formats. Naturally, the connection is encrypted, and the software is open source. The program in question is called Syncthing, and it works across Windows, Linux, and Mac, and can even be directly installed to selected network drives. We recommend installing the GTK build from https://github.com/syncthing/ syncthing-gtk – install it on both computers, then select the folder you

“Device Manager focuses on hardware drivers only, whereas driverquery includes software drivers, too”

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wish to sync on your main computer, before connecting it and your other PC together. Once done, the files are kept in sync automatically whenever Syncthing runs – configure it to start with Windows, to ensure it’s always backing up. Files are transferred directly between computers, so they both need to be on and connected for files to sync. If you wanted to store backups remotely on friends’ and family’s PCs, take a look at BuddyBackup (www.buddybackup.com), which encrypts your data so it’s unreadable on the computers you back it up to.

Your personal cloud

If you’d like to store files centrally (creating an additional backup of your files in the process), without relying on a third party, then set up your own using a spare PC or network hard drive as the file server. Some network drives come with their own proprietary cloud systems – My Cloud from Western Digital, for example – but we recommend choosing something open source and more widely supported, like OwnCloud (https:// owncloud.org), which works across a variety of platforms. The server part can be installed to many network drives – including Zyxel and Synology (the latter via https://synocommunity.com) – as well as Linux-powered PCs, including the Raspberry Pi 2, if you’re looking for a

Cipher does more than simply wipe free space

low-cost solution. You then download and install the desktop and mobile clients on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and other supported platforms, to allow you to both sync and access your files from anywhere. Think of OwnCloud as being your own personal cloud-storage system – you’re not tied to any third parties, there are no monthly fees to pay for storage, and your cloud can be restricted to your local network or opened up securely for access over the internet, should you

need it. It works with multiple users, too, so everyone in your household gets their own secure storage space (with quotas to limit individuals from hogging the drive for their own files). Some initial configuration is required, but everything’s point-and-click, with a useful manual on hand to steer you in the right direction. One tip – when asked to set up your initial account, be sure to click ‘Storage & database’ to select the MySQL option, rather than the default SQLite one. This will dramatically

Command Prompt Tips and Tricks indows 10 introduces some handy time-saving features to the Command Prompt, including QuickEdit mode (actually introduced in Windows 8, but let’s not split hairs). This enables you to select and copy text from the console quickly, using the mouse – click and drag to select, then right-click to copy it to the clipboard. Place your cursor where you wish to paste it in the console, and right-click again. Many commands generate pages and pages of data – to save you the onerous task of scrolling back up to review them, add the | more option onto the end of offending commands, to force them to show the first page, then pause. From here, press [Enter] to move down a line at a time, or [Space] to scroll through the next page. Alternatively, redirect the information to a text file with the ‘ ’ switch – for example, drivequery -v drivers.txt creates the file in your current directory.

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Some commands can appear to get stuck or keep on looping – break out of them without closing the Command Prompt window by simply pressing [Ctrl]+[C]. Want to clear the screen buffer and start with a fresh new ‘page’? Type cls and hit [Enter]. The Command Prompt

also keeps a handy history of previous commands – how many is configured via the ‘Options’ tab under Command Prompt Properties, which you can cycle through using the up and down cursor keys, speeding up text entry.

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“Laptop users might want to try /batteryreport, which gives you a full overview of your battery’s health” speed up the server’s performance when it comes to syncing large batches of files.

restoring from backups

Disaster has struck – you’ve lost data for one reason or another, so what next? Thanks to your backup plan, you should find you’re able to quickly and relatively painlessly restore the data you lost. If you’ve used File History, navigate to the folder with the missing data in File Explorer, and click the ‘History’ button on the ‘File’ tab. A window opens displaying all the backed-up files in that folder – doubleclick the missing file to preview it, then click the ‘Settings’ button and choose ‘Restore’ to save it to the current location, or ‘Restore to’ to save it elsewhere. If you’re trying to recover an earlier version of a file, use the left and right buttons at the bottom of the page to navigate between available versions, until you find what you need. If you’re recovering from ‘Backup and Restore’, browse to the drive or

folder containing your backup, then double-click it and choose ‘Restore my files from this backup’. Click ‘Choose a different date’ if you’re looking for older versions of your files, or use the search and browse buttons to locate what you want to restore. You can restore them to their original location, or choose another – make sure you leave ‘Restore the files to their original subfolders’ ticked to preserve the original folder structure, before clicking ‘Restore’. Need to recover your entire PC? Macrium Reflect makes things straightforward. If you can boot into Windows, launch the app and switch to the ‘Restore’ tab; otherwise, boot from your rescue media. Either select the backup you want to roll back to from the list given, or click ‘Browse for an image file’ to locate it manually. Select ‘Restore Image’ to restore the full image, or choose ‘Browse Image’ to mount the image as a virtual drive, enabling you to browse it as a virtual

drive in Windows itself – a good option for recovering individual files and folders from the backup. Make sure you tick ‘Enable access to restricted folders’ to allow you to recover data from user folders and other protected places. Restoring files from the cloud isn’t usually an issue, because everything’s kept in sync, but if you need to restore a file you’ve accidentally deleted, then taking OneDrive as an example, log into your OneDrive account through your browser. Click the menu button and select ‘Recycle bin’ under your PC’s entry to see if it’s still recoverable. Recovering data from OwnCloud is simple, too – when you reinstall the software and log in as your own user, you’re prompted to choose which folder on your hard drive to store your OneDrive content on – once done, the folder syncs up with what’s online, restoring any missing data, or you can log on through your browser to download individual files if necessary. n

Working with Batch Files B

atch files are specially created text files that contain a list of Command Prompt commands, which are executed in the order they’re written. They can also be used to call executable programs (use the start command), and are a great way to make repetitive commands easy to process. You can create and edit batch files in Notepad – place each command with its options on a separate line. When you come to save the file, set ‘Save as type:’ to ‘All Files (*.*)’, before giving the file a .cmd extension. There’s a number of commands designed for use in batch files. One of the easiest to use is the pause command. Place this in your batch file, and when it’s reached, the Command Prompt throws up a ‘Press any key to continue’ message, and waits for a key to be pressed. You can also make use of the echo command to display text on-screen, and insert an @echo off command at the top of your batch file to prevent the

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commands themselves from appearing in the Command Prompt window as they’re run. Other useful commands include call, which enables you to call a second batch file from within the first, plus choice and set for introducing interactivity through the form of choices for the end user (you can also introduce

conditions through the if and goto commands). Batch files can be run from within the Command Prompt window (you can drag them from File Explorer into the window), or simply by double-clicking them in File Explorer – you’ll see the Command Prompt window appear, and it disappears when the script completes.


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get the facts in our hands-on report

Windows 10

Anniversary Update From August 2 this year, Windows will be even better…

W

ho can believe it’s been a whole year since Windows 10 was released?! To celebrate, Microsoft has a present for everybody in the form of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. If you have a Windows 10 PC or tablet you’ll get the Update automatically, and for absolutely free. The name is a little misleading, because “update” suggests a collection of bits and pieces that you might find on Windows Update. The Anniversary

Edition is more important than that. It’s effectively Windows 2016, a version of Windows 10 with some important improvements to make it smarter, smoother and more secure, and to integrate Windows more closely with phones, wearables and other devices. The most obvious improvements are the changes Microsoft has made to the interface. The Start Menu has been improved, the Action Centre redesigned and there are lots of tweaks to make Windows easier and more friendly. But there are some key changes under the

hood too, with important improvements in security, in gaming and in Windows’ ability to stop the internet from being really annoying. There are many improvements to the way Windows handles apps’ demands for power, the end of unwanted Windows Update reboots… there’s even a change to the dreaded ‘Blue Screen of Death’ to make it more useful. Over the next few pages we’ll discover how the Anniversary Update is to use, what features we think you’ll love and why it’s an anniversary worth celebrating.

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look and listen Windows 10 now understands you better than ever

W

indows 10 may be the most highly rated version of Windows ever, but there’s always room for improvement – and the improvements start before you even log in. There’s a new option in Cortana’s Settings that enables it to listen even when your PC or tablet is locked, so for example you can ask Cortana to play music or answer a question without having to unlock your PC. Microsoft has also added icons to the lock screen that enable you to play and skip music without having to log in first.

Cortana in control

Cortana can now set timers, respond to complex queries such as “send John the Word document I created last night,” and it can make pro-active suggestions – so, for example, if you get an email containing details of a flight, Cortana can

add the flight to your calendar. If that clashes with another item, Cortana can ask you if you want to reschedule the appointment. It’s clever stuff, especially if you have a Windows Phone or Android Phone with the Cortana app installed. If you do, Cortana can notify you of anything your

phone wants you to know, warn you if your phone battery’s getting low and enable you to reply to text messages from your PC. You can even ask it for directions on your PC and see the results on your phone. Microsoft says this is just the beginning of what Cortana can do, so expect

GreetinGs

Windows Hello gets even more friendly with the update

O

ne of Windows’ best features is Windows Hello, which enables you to unlock your PC via fingerprint or facial recognition. The Anniversary Update makes it better by turning it into a security guard for your apps, online services and online shopping. The first change in Windows Hello is it’s coming to apps and to the Edge internet browser, which means you’ll be able to use it to approve

sign-ins to services and to specific websites. No fingerprint reader? No problem. The other big change is that Windows Hello can now talk to companion devices, so you could use the fingerprint

reader on your phone to approve Windows Hello on your PC. But there’s more. You might even have a Hello-compatible fitness band that automatically unlocks your PC when you’re nearby.

Windows Hello supports devices such as wearables, enabling them to unlock your PC

The new Start menu makes it easier to see frequently used or recently updated apps

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update

it’s senseless

One feature you won’t see in the Anniversary Update

T

he Anniversary Update removes one of Windows 10’s most controversial features, Wi-Fi Sense. The idea behind Wi-Fi Sense was if you knew and trusted a Wi-Fi network, you could share the login details with your friends, family or colleagues – and vice versa, so if you tried to connect to a Wi-Fi network they had shared with you, you wouldn’t need to know the Wi-Fi password. By sharing Wi-Fi credentials with all your Skype, Facebook and Outlook.com contacts,

more useful features to make their way into the apps over the next few months. Maybe one day we’ll do all our computing by talking to Cortana, but for now we’re still using touchscreens, keyboards and mice. With the Anniversary Update, Microsoft has made it better for all three. Once you have the Windows 10 Anniversary Update you’ll see two big changes – the Start Menu has been tweaked, and the Action Centre has been changed too.

Start up

The Start Menu is bigger than before, and that’s good news and bad news. It means easier access

Windows would make mobile users’ lives much easier. However, there were concerns that friends of friends would be able to get your Wi-Fi keys, that the service would reveal your passwords to all and sundry, and that you’d be sharing the logins for super-secure corporate networks. None of this was true, but that didn’t stop the outcry. Microsoft has binned Wi-Fi Sense, claiming lack of user demand, although many observers think it was the bad publicity that killed it.

Wi-Fi Sense no longer shares details with your friends, but it will still handily share logins with your Windows devices

We mentioned the Action Centre earlier. It’s now to the right of the clock on the Windows Taskbar, so it isn’t lost among the status icons any more. Clicking on it displays the new interface, which uses cards and tiles to display additional information – so for example if you have a notification about traffic you’ll see a map, and if the notification is about a person you’ll see a photo. It looks really good and makes Windows feel even friendlier.

to your apps, but it also means there’s more room for ads on new PCs. The All Apps option has been removed and the menu redesigned so the icons for File Explorer, Settings and Power are clearly visible on the very left of the menu. The next column is your apps, with the most recently added ones at the top, the most used ones afterwards then an alphabetical listing below that. After that you have the tiles telling you about birthdays, news, email and so on. There’s another change that isn’t immediately obvious – the Start Menu’s search now includes your OneDrive files as well as the ones on your PC or tablet.

The main task

“Maybe one day we’ll do all our computing by talking to Cortana”

Cortana is everywhere in the Anniversary Update. You can even call it when your PC is locked

The Taskbar hasn’t been neglected either. The clock now integrates with the calendar app so clicking on it shows today’s appointments, and the volume icon now enables you to switch between speakers, headphones and other outputs. The Task View interface has been improved too, enabling you to pin windows, so they appear on every virtual desktop instead of just one. All you need to do is right-click and select the ‘Show this window on all desktops’ option. At the risk of using the A-word, some of the Anniversary Update features clearly owe a debt to Apple – especially if you have a precision trackpad, where you can use the same four-finger swipe that OS X uses to switch between multiple desktops, or if you use the Cortana apps to bring phone and PC together – but that’s no bad thing. The impression you’ll get from the update is that Windows is faster, smoother and friendlier than before.

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secure and smart The under-the-hood improvements to celebrate

T

here’s much more to the update than its interface. One of the

problems with the Windows Store is it isn’t big enough. Because it’s limited to apps built on the Universal Windows Platform, or UWP for short, it doesn’t have some of the big-name apps and games that exist for Windows. Microsoft has addressed that by creating a tool for developers that enables them to convert their apps so they’ll work in the store without having to remove any features. That’s important news for gamers, as some key features,

such as Crossfire and SLI support are missing from current Windows Store apps. Microsoft says that the new approach means games in the Store will be able to add the missing features and support modding, multi-GPU video cards and high-end hardware. Microsoft wants apps to be the same across not just Windows but the Xbox One too, so Cortana’s coming to the console as well. If you’re always running out of battery you’ll appreciate the new Battery settings. There’s a new third option to supplement the per-app ‘Never allow’ and ‘Always allow in background’ options, and

Dark Mode now enables you to make Windows less bright – it’s handy at night!

that’s ‘Managed by Windows’. What that means is Windows will keep an eye on your apps to see if you’re using them, and if you aren’t and the apps are using too much power it’ll throttle them back. The result should be a big improvement in battery life. The Anniversary Update should mean Windows Store games that use all your PC’s power now won’t

Smart stuff

Windows Update is smarter too. We can’t be the only ones who’ve cursed Microsoft when an

WindoWs a la mode

What Tablet Mode, Dark Mode and Windows Ink can do for you

T

he Anniversary Update has three features that are useful to tablet and 2-in-1 PC owners: Dark Mode, Tablet Mode and Windows Ink. Dark Mode is in Windows 10 already, but it’s hidden. The Anniversary Update makes it available under ‘Settings > Personalisation > Colours’, where you can ‘Choose your app mode’. Light is selected by default, but Dark turns Windows’ white backgrounds black. In Tablet Mode, you can

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hide the Taskbar to give you more screen space, and the apps list now appears in full screen. If your device has a touchscreen or stylus you’ll enjoy the improvements to Windows Ink too, which you can use to highlight and delete words in Office and draw distances in Maps. You can scribble notes, and Windows can recognise what you’re writing – for example, if you write a task for later, Windows can turn it into a reminder.

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Tablet Mode has been tweaked. You can now hide the Taskbar and see the apps list full screen


Windows 10 Anniversary Update

no more free rides

What this Anniversary means for the freebie

W

hen Microsoft launched Windows 10 last July last year, it did a very generous thing by saying anybody who already had a legitimate copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8 could have Windows 10 for absolutely nothing. That deal was good for a year, and it ended on July 29, 2016. If you already have Windows 10 you’ll get the Anniversary Update automatically and free of charge on August 2, but if you’re still running Windows 7, Windows 8 or an earlier version of Windows then you’ll need to pay the full price if you want

Edge gets extensions that you can use to add features or block online irritants

automatic update has rebooted our PC at the worst possible time. With the Anniversary Update, Windows Update enables you to set active hours. Whatever hours you set, Windows Update will respect them and won’t interrupt what you’re doing to perform an unwelcome reboot. Some of our favourite changes are in the Edge web browser. At long last it gets support for extensions, the little add-ons

If you have a stylus or a touchscreen, you’ll love the improvements to Windows Ink

“Windows Update won’t interrupt you to perform an unwelcome reboot” you’ll be familiar with if you’ve used Firefox or Chrome. Extensions were planned for the initial release of Windows 10, but unfortunately they didn’t make the cut. There should be plenty to choose from too, as Microsoft has made a tool for developers that makes it easy to turn Chrome extensions into Edge ones.

Video killed

If like us the curse of noisy auto-playing adverts means you tend to surf the web with your speakers off, there’s good news on that front too. Edge will

Windows 10 in all its updated glory. The license for the free Windows 10 deal is a little complicated, but, in a nutshell, if you had the free licence then Microsoft will continue to update the software for the lifetime of that device – so if you can keep your PC running for another 10 years, you’ll get 10 years of Windows 10 updates. The update isn’t transferable, though, so you can’t transfer the licence to a different computer. You can move your Windows 7 or 8 licence to a different PC, but you can’t then upgrade that PC to Windows 10 for free.

The Anniversary Update heralds the end of free Windows 10 upgrades from Windows 7 and 8

automatically pause non-essential Flash videos, so they won’t play until you click on them. That won’t stop content that you’ve requested from playing – your favourite online videos and games should be fine – but it should mean the end of one of the most irritating things on the internet. It should also help keep your PC secure and improve battery life. Flash is a power hog, and it often suffers from security issues too. Extensions weren’t the only area where Edge was falling behind the competition – rival browsers offer features such as pinned tabs, where you can turn a tab into an icon for instant access (great for webmail, Spotify and so on) and website notifications. With the Anniversary Update, Edge gets both. It also gets phone-style linking between websites and apps, so for example clicking on an Expedia link in Edge would open it in the Expedia app on your PC, assuming you had the app. That might not be available immediately, as it

requires a little tweak for existing apps to recognise the feature. In addition to improved security in Edge, Windows offers improved security system-wide – and that includes Windows Defender, which can now work alongside other security apps. At the moment, Windows Defender turns itself off if you install other security software. In the Anniversary Update it has an option called ‘Limited Periodic Scanning’. Enabling this feature means Windows Defender will scan your system to make sure your other software hasn’t missed anything nasty. Microsoft has even tweaked something it hopes you won’t see – the dreaded Blue Screen, which appears when Windows hits a problem it can’t recover from. With the Anniversary Update, the screen won’t just tell you the bad news, it’ll show you a QR code you can scan with your phone in order to find out what’s gone wrong. How’s that for attention to detail?

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WINDOWS HELP HARDWARE FIXES SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS INTERNET TIPS Windows

WINDOWS 7 PRObLEm

Do you have a PC problem? Get in touch… Email full details of your problem to the support team and we’ll do our best to help windowsmagazine@ futurenet.com

Q I recently had a hard drive

crash, so had to recover Windows XP from a recovery disc then upgrade to Windows 7. All went well until the last successful update back in February; since then it seems to have stalled – eventually after several hours it failed with a ‘0x80080005’ error. A similar problem occurred with another PC

too, with Microsoft’s Fixit tool unable to resolve the update feature. Can you help? Graham Francis matt’s solution We pointed Graham to the WSUS Offline Update tool at www. wsusoffline.net – this allows you to download all the updates separately and then apply them

offline, which may resolve issues where updates haven’t been installed in the correct order. Second, many Windows 7 users have been complaining about slow updates since October 2015 – download the two updates at https://support.microsoft.com/ kb/3083710 and https://support. microsoft.com/kb/3102810 and install them manually to hopefully resolve this issue. Sadly, in Graham’s case, the original hard-disk crash may have been the foreshadowing of worse to come – while following our steps, his computer developed a strange noise and refused completely to boot. We gave him some troubleshooting steps to follow, with the possibility that his hard drive had failed, but haven’t heard back since. Security

NORTON RETURNS

Q I recently upgraded to

Stalled updateS Manually install two updates to fix Windows 7 update

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Support Technical help

Find the solution! Data Crow video tutorials Need help using Data Crow? Visit the YouTube channel at http://bit.ly/data-crow for lots of useful tutorials

Quickfire questions Is it possible to schedule an email from my Gmail account to be sent at a set time? Teodozja Dudek Install the Boomerang for Gmail add-in (http://www. baydin.com/) for Chrome and Firefox – it’s also available for Outlook too. I’m trying to integrate f.lux with my Philips Hue lights, but when I enable the setting there’s no beep to prompt me to pair. Dave Kuhl At time of writing, a recent update to the Hue hub broke the integration – look out for a newer version of f.lux that will hopefully correct the problem.

ReMediation ReMoveR this tool should – but not always – stop incorrect nags

Now I keep getting the Norton Downloader tool popping up on a regular basis telling me I need to update. I’ve deleted it five or six times, but it keeps coming back. David Wood Graham’s solution First we instructed Dave to try running the Norton Remediation Remover tool (http://bit.ly/ nortonrr), but, after a week, Norton came back again. We rooted out various known files and removed them, and Dave even tried installing Norton as directed before removing it, all to no avail. He eventually chose the Symantec Chat option, and a technician removed a number of files that allegedly fixed the problem. But once again, within a week the prompt had returned. At this point, we wondered what else on David’s system might be causing the problem – it’s possible a third-party tool was checking for the presence of Norton, then re-downloading the files. As a final suggestion, we asked David to consider performing a clean install of Windows 10 to scrub all possible files from the system. We hope this finally fixes it!

Nick O’s solution This sounds as if it was Office XP rather than Windows XP that was installed on Terry’s system – this isn’t rated compatible with Windows 10, so we’re not sure how it was successfully installed. Terry subsequently revealed he was still using a HP iPAQ RX3000 PDA, which came with a copy of Outlook 2000 that he’d managed to install for syncing contacts from the device via Windows mobile Device. Terry is willing to switch to Windows Live Mail if he can keep the contacts synced, but WMD only supports Outlook. As his current version still appears to work, we suggest leaving it alone for now and not worrying about the update error.

“Consider a clean install of Windows 10 to scrub files from the system” Jargon buster! Norton Remediation Remover A tool designed to prevent Norton Security continually prompting users to install an updated version of Norton.

Syncthing update you’ll need to manually update to Syncthing-gtK 0.9

Windows mobile Device A legacy tool designed to run on earlier versions of Windows to provide connectivity to supported mobile devices.

Microsoft Office

UPDATE ERRORS

Q I’m pleased with my new

Windows 10 PC, but looking under the update log in ‘Settings’, I see errors, such as Office XP Service Pack 3 (error 0x80096004). I’ve been using XP for years, but why is it not recognising I’m using Windows 10 rather than XP? Terry Douglas September 2016 |

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Quickfire questions How do I verify a program’s digital signature? Ernst King Right-click the downloaded program file, then choose ‘Properties’. Switch to the ‘Digital Signatures’ tab to view the signer. Use a tool like HashMyFiles (http://www. nirsoft.net/utils/hash_my_files. html) to compare its MD5 or SHA1 hash with that listed on the app’s website. The latest version of Opera talks a lot about its Battery Saver tool, which cuts power and resource consumption. Can it be implemented on ordinary desktops too? Jon Percy

Language settings

KEybOARD KEEPS SWITcHING LANGUAGE

Q I recently obtained a Razer

Yes – it’s a great way to stop the browser hogging resources: go to ‘Settings > Browser’ and tick ‘Always show power saver icon’ to access it when running on mains power. Even though I sign into Windows with a Microsoft Account, I get a notification I need to sign in with my Microsoft credentials, but when I click, the Settings page shows I’m already signed in. Is this just a glitch? Saul cook We’ve come across the prompt a few times too – if it keeps occurring, try signing out and then signing back in from the Settings page you’re taken to.

abSoRbeR padS Rinse out the ink absorbers on your canon printer

keyboard, and it appears that the keyboard will suddenly switch to a US English layout (so “ becomes @, and £ becomes #) for no apparent reason. All I can do is restart my PC and it resolves itself – until next time. Could it be a bug or problem with the Synapse driver software? Alec blake cat’s solution We did some digging and it appears the Synapse software does install US English as a language option and then assign a hotkey that toggles the language setting. What Alec needs to do is identify which key it is – he admitted he did occasionally hit the wrong key by mistake – and then just press it again to hopefully toggle back to UK English, or look for the language icon on the toolbar and click that to switch back instead.

Software

SyNcTHING PRObLEmS

Q I’ve been trying to download

Syncthing to follow your tutorial from issue 122, but all the sites I’ve tried claim there’s no download or setup. Can you tell me where to download this? Gary Sawford Nick P’s solution We double-checked the link published in the mag – https://github. com/syncthing/syncthing-gtk, which still worked fine. You need to scroll down and click ‘latest installer from here’ next to Windows in the Packages section. Gary tried this, but when attempting to run Syncthing got a ‘Python error in main script’. We only found one mention of this error online, and that was traced to a faulty build of the program. At time of writing, the author had just released a major update – version 0.9.0.1 – so it’s possible Gary had tried version 0.9.0. He removed his existing copy via ‘Settings > System > Apps & Features’, then

EXTRA cLOUD ENcRyPTION

Q I’d like to add another layer of

encryption to my cloud storage account, but only for selected folders. What’s the best way to do this? John Derby

matt’s solution You could set up an encrypted container using VeraCrypt (get it from https://veracrypt.codeplex. com) inside which your most sensitive folders are stored. Keep a local, unencrypted copy of your files – just in case.

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up container 1 Set Open up VeraCrypt and then click

‘Create Volume’ > ‘Create an encrypted file container’ > ‘Standard VeraCrypt volume’. Click ‘Select File…’ to choose a location within your cloud storage folder, and give it a suitable filename.

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container options 2 Set The default encryption options should

be fine – click ‘Next’. Set a suitable volume size large enough to contain all the files and folders you plan to store in here, then set your security (password, plus an option for a key file).


Support Technical help installed version 0.9.0.1, which worked perfectly. Printers

WHERE’S my PRINTER’S INK AbSORbER?

Q I have a Canon Pixma IP3300

and I cannot clean the print head because it tells me that the ink absorber is almost full. I’ve looked in the manual and found nothing – how do I empty or replace the ink absorber? Jim Duncan

cat’s solution Ink absorbers are small, spongy pads that are found in a black rubber frame under the ink cartridge assembly. Their job is to absorb any excess ink that might accumulate during printing and cleaning of the print heads. Canon recommends you get your printer serviced, but if you’re feeling bold you can replace or even rinse them out yourself. Access them by opening the ink cartridge compartment, then wait for the cartridges to move all the way over before disconnecting the power cord. Now carefully extract the rubber frame and remove the absorbers from this. Replacements cost around £35 (try www.thesuppliesshop.co.uk), or you can try cleaning them yourself. Make sure you’re wearing rubber gloves, then place the ink pads in a bowl of warm, soapy water. Rub and squeeze the pads to remove the ink – you’ll probably need to replace the water several times until all the ink is removed. Once done, squeeze any excess water from the pads and place them to dry on a stack of paper or kitchen towels, replacing any that become saturated. Once dry, place them back in the rubber frame,

and fit that back in the printer, then press and hold the power button while reconnecting the power cord. Release the button for five seconds when power comes on, then push it again to reset the printer and remove the error message. Security

IS TEAmVIEWER SAFE?

Q With the recent reports that

TeamViewer has been compromised, does this mean we should no longer use it for remote control purposes? If not, what alternatives are there? Saul cook Nick P’s solution There’s probable truth in TeamViewer’s claim that those who reuse

weak passwords from other sites made it easier for hijackers to get a foothold on some systems. It’s entirely possible that if you allow others to remotely control your PC, their lack of security could have put you at risk. Switching to another remote control app like Ammyy Admin (www.ammyy.com) doesn’t reduce this vulnerability, so the only practical alternative is to stop using remote control apps altogether. TeamViewer has tightened security, but the most effective way to block these kinds of attacks is to switch on two-factor authentication. Doing so means your mobile must be physically present whenever you log on to TeamViewer, helping keep hackers at bay.

Do you have a PC problem? Get in touch… Email full details of your problem to the support team and we’ll do our best to help: windowsmagazine@ futurenet.com Or write to the support team and we’ll do our best to help: Support Squad, Windows Help & Advice magazine, Future Publishing Ltd, Quay House, The Ambury, bath bA1 1AU added SecuRity two-factor authentication adds muchneeded protection

“It’s entirely possible that if you allow others to remotely control your PC, their lack of security could have put you at risk” Jargon buster! Print head The mechanism for distributing ink on to the paper. Canon printers used ‘fixed’ print heads, which are permanently installed rather than being part of the ink cartridge.

container 3 Format Choose a file type (FAT is the default,

consider NTFS), then wiggle your mouse until the bar turns green. Click ‘Format’ followed by ‘Yes’ and ‘OK’ when prompted. Click ‘Exit’, then choose ‘Select File…’ to load your container.

and use 4 mount Select a drive letter and click ‘Mount’

(or ‘Auto-mount Devices’ to mount on startup). Supply the password and – if applicable – key file and click ‘Mount’. Once done, move sensitive files into the container for additional security.

Key file An additional form of authentication for encrypted file containers – users must not simply enter a password, but also select the correct file specified to access the file.

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AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-MSR7 Escape to a world of high resolution audio

HELPING YOU MAKE THE MOST OF LIFE IN TODAY’S CONNECTED WORLD

ONLINE • PRINT • TABLET

SAMSUNG JS9000 Relax with the latest home entertainment

CARL ZEISS VR Embrace a new era of virtual reality gaming

SONY XPERIA Z3 Putting you in control of your life and home

APPLE WATCH Your health and fitness upgraded

LIFE’S BETTER WITH T3 t3.com


Welcome to…

Windows 10

windows 10 tips

features expLained

Welcome In each issue of Windows Help & Advice we show you how to get to grips with Windows 10, and master the basics. This month, we demonstrate how to use Virtual Desktops to create workspaces on your PC, and we also look at how Cortana the virtual assistant works. When the Windows 10 Anniversary Update lands on August 2, you can expect even more features to be added to Windows 10 – we’ll cover these next issue by looking at what’s new in Cortana as well as the latest exciting features of the Edge browser.

new tips and tricks

Featuring… 82 Use the new Virtual Desktops

84 Get the most from Cortana

Turn To page 16 for The 50 besT windows apps

Matt Hanson Associate Editor www.facebook.com/windowsmag

windows 10 tip of the month

Power options

Change what closing the lid does Windows 10 makes it easy to get full control of your PC and tweak every single option. Holding the Windows key with the [X] button brings up a secret menu with a number of options, one of which is ‘Power Options’. This opens a page of the Control Panel. Here you can click on ‘Choose what closing the lid does’. From the drop-down menu select from ‘Sleep’, ‘Hibernate’, ‘Shut Down’ or choose to ‘Do Nothing’.

Quick Access Open ‘Quick Access’ by pressing down [Win]+[X] together. Then, select ‘Power Options’

POWer OPTiOns click on ‘choose what closing the lid does’ and select your preferred options from the menu

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Learn how to…

Use Virtual Desktops in Windows 10

Using virtual desktops is a fantastic way of organising your work into separate manageable areas, each specific to the task at hand Time Taken 15 minutes

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he ability to have (and swap between) multiple desktops is a feature that has long been missing from Windows. If you use your PC for gaming, but also for office work, for example, it can be indispensable, (and less confusing) to have an individual desktop for each task. Here, we’ll walk you through Microsoft Virtual Desktops – a feature new to Windows 10. Virtual Desktops not only gives you more desktop space for separate task-related windows, but it also allows you to access what you need quickly and easily. And, because you’re not creating a virtual machine, you won’t take up any precious system resources or space with your additional desktops. Let’s get going!

Opening your Task View

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The Task View button sits to the right-hand side of Cortana’s search menu. To get going with Virtual Desktops click the ‘Task View’ button and it will open up the multi-app view. In this view, you can see every application and window you currently have active on your main desktop.

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adding a new Desktop

Adding a new desktop is straightforward. Move your cursor to the bottom right-hand corner and left-click ‘New Desktop’. Here you can add as many desktops as you need. Once you have added these, they will act as separate hubs for you to place your open applications into.


Your new PC Get started with Windows 10

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Organise and add applications

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move apps between Desktops

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Show all open apps in Task Bar

Unfortunately, you cannot assign shortcuts and files to particular Virtual Desktops. In fact, the shortcuts or files you place on the first desktop will appear on all desktops. With that in mind, you should keep your main desktop as clean as possible, by removing or moving applications or files you don’t use.

There’s a straightforward way to quickly move one application from one desktop to another. Just go to ‘Task View’ again, then simply left-click and hold the open window or application you want to move, you can now drag it to the destination desktop.

You can enable your task bar to show all the programs that are open on all the desktops, so that it, in effect, acts as a hub. Simply type ‘Virtual Desktop’ into the Start menu, open the settings and change the first dropdown menu to say ‘All Desktops’.

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What’s open on each desktop?

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Some useful shortcuts

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See open apps from one Desktop

If you want to know what’s open on what desktop, open ‘Task View’ again, by clicking the button to the right of the Start menu. Now hover over each of the desktop tabs at the bottom of the screen. Windows will then display in its main window which applications are open on each desktop.

There are many shortcuts in Virtual Desktops. To switch to the previous or next desktop, press the Windows button with [Ctrl] and the left or right arrow keys. To close the desktop press the Windows button with [Ctrl]+[F4]. To jump into the Task View press the Windows button with the tab key.

Pressing [Alt]+[Tab] is a quick way to see all open apps across multiple virtual desktops. However, if you only want to see programs on the current Virtual Desktop, go to the ‘Virtual Desktop Settings’ again, and select the ‘Only the desktop I’m using’ option from the [Alt]+[Tab’] drop-down menu. n September 2016 |

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Learn how to…

Get the most from Cortana Microsoft Cortana promises to help you take control of your life – discover how easy it is to set up with our useful tips and tricks Time Taken 30 minutes

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irtual assistants are all the rage these days. There’s Google Now and Apple’s Siri, but loudest of the lot is Microsoft’s Cortana. It’s built right into Windows 10 (and Microsoft’s new Edge browser), ready and waiting to help you find information but also provide context-sensitive tools when travelling, entertaining or working. Cortana learns what you’re doing too, so it can anticipate your needs. Do you regularly travel to and from work with your laptop? Let Cortana know where those places are, and it’ll look out for traffic news and give you a heads up on when’s the best time to leave. You can use it to set up meetings, create reminders and provide tips for your next night out. Here’s how to get started…

top tip You need a Microsoft Account for Cortana – if you’re logged in with a local account you can switch during setup.

Get Cortana set up and running

Get Cortana working

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Click ‘Search’ and click ‘Settings’. If you’re told Cortana isn’t supported in your region and language, click ‘Start > Settings > Time & Language > Region & Language’. Set to English (United Kingdom), click on ‘English’ under ‘Languages’ and choose ‘Options’. Click Download under ‘Speech’ – once downloaded, click ‘Settings’ and select ‘English (United Kingdom)’.

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Set up Cortana

Now click ‘Search > Settings’ again and flick the Cortana switch to ‘On’. Work through the set-up wizard to configure it. The more features you allow, the better Cortana will be (but at the expense of some of your privacy). Provide your nickname and follow the prompts to switch on the Location service and – if necessary – switch to your Microsoft account.


Your new PC Get started with Windows 10

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integration

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Stay in command

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Talk, don’t type

Cortana will integrate with your location and online services to start providing information such as the local weather forecast. To customise this further, click ‘Open Notebook’. Start by clicking ‘About me’ to set your home, work and other favourite places – if you take your device with you when out and about, this will help Cortana learn your travel and work habits.

You can type commands into Cortana as well as search terms into the ‘Ask me anything’ box – for example, type ‘set up a meeting’ and Cortana will ask you for a date, time, subject and calendar (from those accounts linked in to the Calendar app) to store it in. Once added, type ‘view calendar’ to get an at-a-glance look at any upcoming meetings.

If you have a microphone, you can talk to Cortana instead of typing – tap the microphone button and follow the wizard to set up your microphone for the first time. Then open Cortana’s settings and flick the ‘Hey Cortana’ switch to ‘On’. Now you can grab Cortana’s attention by saying “Hey Cortana” then say your search terms or command, such as “Create reminder”.

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Set up notebooks

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Reminders

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Living on the edge

Notebooks help Cortana learn about you – they contain information about your interests, from news and sport to travel and film, as well as your calendar (which links with the Calendar app and Outlook.com calendar). From ‘Notebooks’ click a category to switch it on or off, plus tailor it to your needs – for example, price range for food suggestions or news topics.

Click the lightbulb icon to set a reminder. Reminders can be linked to times, places and even people – click the + button to set up a new one, then enter your reminder into the ‘Remember to’ box. Desktop users will get the most use out of time-based reminders – click ‘time’, then choose a time followed by day and whether it’s repeating.

If you want Cortana to pop up with suggestions while you browse using Microsoft Edge, open the browser and click the menu (‘…’) button. Select ‘Settings > Advanced settings’, then scroll down and flick the ‘Get Cortana to assist me in Microsoft Edge’ switch to ‘On’. In addition to suggestions, right-click words or phrases in websites and choose ‘Ask Cortana’ for help. n September 2016 |

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new hardware

essential accessories

latest gadgets

This issue’s highlights

Welcome

if, like us, you’re looking forward to a week or two in the sun, you’ll be glad to hear there’s no need to leave your tech at home. There are many lightweight options available – we review the HP Elite x2 1012 G1 on page 88. Also, to help you get perfect sound when you’re away, we’ve rounded up six of the best travel speakers in our group test, starting on page 96. You’ll find plenty of tempting options on offer if you want to improve on your PC’s limited, built-in speakers for the ultimate party on the beach! Until next time…

88 HP Elite x2 1012 G1

90 Lenovo Yoga 900S

92 Panasonic TX-40DX600

94 Withings Go

Take a closer look at this new, versatile 2-in-1 tablet/notebook hybrid from HP

If you’re after a stylish and thin notebook with great battery life then look here

A 4K that’s packed with apps and at a price that will make you look twice

Nick Odantzis deputy editor windowsmagazine@futurenet.com

96 Mini test

A simple fitness tracker that doesn’t cost the Earth. This could change your life!

Travel speakers

Our promise to you… The Upgrade section is your key to finding out about the latest products, all designed to help you get more from your PC

You can trust our reviews

Our reviewers are 100 per cent independent, with years of experience in the world of computing. Our rigorous testing procedures mean that only genuine, high-quality products are awarded high star ratings. If you see an item of hardware bearing a high score, you can be confident that it is an excellent product.

rating explained

Superb

we choose the best products

Thousands of new PC products are released every year and choosing between them can be an impossible task. Our experts select only the best hardware and software to feature in this magazine. Even better, our star rating system makes it simple to find the best products, giving you a fast, trustworthy guide. Very good

Good

how we review

Our expert reviewers guarantee to test every piece of hardware rigorously and thoroughly, using only acknowledged experts to establish the worth of a product. We always review from the viewpoint of our readers; the day-to-day practicality and quality of a product is paramount. Disappointing

September 2016 |

Poor

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HP Elite x2 1012 G1 £1,289 | $1349 www.hp.com

Impressive usability that comes at a price

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he Elite x2 is as fit for the boardroom as it is for your nightstand. Its backlit keyboard (with number pad), stutter-less trackpad, Wacom pen and Thunderbolt supporting USB-C port, along with enterprise ready security features, will turn heads. The two-tone exterior comprises a black, gorilla-glass encased brow – where the tablet’s rear-facing camera sit – and is complemented by a silver aluminum shell. The gorilla glass not only protects the camera from falls, but from lens-smearing fingers too. Fingerprint scanners are seldom seen on tablets, however, HP found room to put it on the back of the tablet. It’s tactile enough to find without flipping the tablet over, and discrete enough that it doesn’t detract from the fine looks. Like its upper brow, the 12-inch screen is encased in gorilla glass. Framing the screen is a large bezel, which on a notebook would be

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unsightly, but on a tablet adds surface area to grab the device. Overall, the tablet feels sturdy – but not heavy. This sturdiness, according to HP, was an important goal for their design team. HP says it put the Elite x2 through a 12-point stress test that included various drops, bumps and temperature changes. Compared to these stresses, a ride in a car boot or in some luggage should be an easy challenge for the Elite x2.

Fair and balanced

The tablet depends on an aluminium leg to stay upright. This kickstand has no set lock points, allowing the screen to tilt to nearly any viewing angle. Fortunately the hinge is ‘sticky’, and once adjusted everything will stay in place. And while it prefers a solid desk, it balances well enough on uneven surfaces too. The keyboard base’s magnets connection are strong enough to

keep the device together when it’s shifted around a lap, or even when hung upside down. A second set of magnets near the keyboard connects the type cover onto the tablet’s lower bezel. This connection point is the weak link of the set-up; it frequently comes undone when moving the device.

Inputs

There’s no shortage of inputs on the Elite x2. Keyboard, trackpad, Wacom pen, touchscreen – even your voice if you count Cortana’s search and fetch – are all inputs available on this business tablet and all work very well. The core inputs, the keyboard and trackpad, are integrated into the x2’s excellent type cover. There’s no flimsy plastic here, the type cover is made of stiff aluminium with a felt-covered exterior. This provides a solid, and more importantly, comfortable base for your hands.


Upgrade HP Elite x2 1012 G1 KEY FEATURES HP Elite x2 1012 G1 Processor 1.1GHz Intel Core m5-6Y54 (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 2.7GHz with Turbo Boost) Storage 256GB M.2 SATA TLC SSD RAM 8GB LPDDR3-1866 SDRAM Graphics Intel HD Graphics 515 Ports USB Type-C with Thunderbolt support, USB 3.0, headphone/ mic combo jack Connectivity 2 x 2 Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 Combo Camera 2MP FHD 1080p front-facing webcam, 5MP FHD 1080p rear-facing Weight 1.8 pounds (tablet), 2.65 pounds (tablet with travel keyboard), 2.79 pounds (tablet with advanced keyboard) Size 11.8 x 8.4 x 0.3 inches (tablet), 11.8 x 8.4 x 0.5 inches (tablet with travel keyboard), 11.8 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches (tablet with advanced keyboard) (W x D x H) Screen size 12-inch, 1,920 x 1,280 FHD UWVA eDP LED-backlit touchscreen

The backlit keyboard may be busy, but it’s not hard to navigate. The chiclet-style keys are large (the letter keys in particular) and well-spaced for easy fingerfinding. On many keyboards where space is at a premium, the size of the keys on the edges (caps lock, enter, shift, etc) is sacrificed for the wellbeing of the centre keys, but not here. Typing is as comfortable as it is on a real notebook. That’s really saying something when the type cover only measures two-thirds of a centimetre thick. All the keys have excellent travel. The trackpad is certainly wide, but it’s not nearly long enough. It’s squat nature is particularly noticeable during

The Active Pen performed admirably. It’s perfectly calibrated out of the box. It feels natural to use, like writing with an ink pen on paper. And it makes OneNote easy to access: just click the pen’s eraser button to open the app. HP’s attachment offerings for its Active Pen, however, are a bit wonky. Your choices are either stick-on stylus loops or an – admittedly charming – piece of thread. Since the adhesive on the stylus loops won’t last six months in a backpack, the “tying the pen to the tablet with thread” option is – unbelievably – more appealing.

Performance

The Elite x2’s 1,920 x 1,280 FHD display is not pushing display

“There’s no shortage of inputs – keyboard, trackpad, Wacom pen, touchscreen, your voice…” vertical scrolling. Of course, cranking up scroll sensitivity in Settings helps alleviate this issue, but a little more room to work with would be appreciated. On the plus side, the trackpad is sensitive, and its all-important ‘click’ is deep and springy. Overall, the type cover’s inputs are satisfying to use. Enterprise users will have no issue working on projects all day with the Elite x2. Type cover aside, the other notable input of the Elite x2 is its Wacom stylus, which HP calls the Active Pen. HP feels it’s an important inclusion not just for creatives, but for enterprise users, who often need to sign documents on a tablet, or take quick notes in a meeting.

technology to the limit, but it’s all the visual power you’ll need when staring into a 12-inch screen. In a nutshell, the display checks the minimum amount of boxes. Off-angle viewing is clear and glare is minimal, though it’s not completely absent as the screen is glossy. Its touchscreen responsiveness is also excellent. Scrolling, manipulating apps, clicking links are all easy to do.But, while we’re on the subject of screen, some users might expect more pixels for their money. Few 2-in-1’s can deliver a great (non-mobile) gaming experience, and the Elite x2 is no exception. It shines, however, in day-to-day home and business tasks. It’s an excellent multi-tasker.

Considering its hardware, it’s not really surprising it’s no graphical powerhouse. It’s competitors, in this instance, have it beaten. It also particularly disappoints with battery life. Despite its Core M configuration, it only lasts just over five hours on our movie test (full-screen video on repeat at 50% brightness and 50% volume). The Elite x2 doesn’t quite close the gap between enterprise notebook and 2-in-1, but its excellent inputs and USB-C port make it a strong choice for the boardroom battalion. All it needs to achieve truly ‘elite’ status is an improvement in battery life and hinge strength.

Final verdict

The Elite x2 very nearly achieves the 2-in-1 ideal – usability in both tablet and notebook modes. However, the cost and the battery limits its appeal. The usability of the x2 may not be worth enough to justify its relatively high price tag to the Netflix and Candy Crush crowd. HP designed the Elite x2 for business and business is likely what they’ll get. ■ Better for business than the Surface Pro, but the HP Elite x2 1012 G1 has poor battery life.

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Lenovo Yoga 900S £999 | $1,099 www.lenovo.com

An impressively light and long-lived hybrid laptop

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enovo has come out with the Yoga 900S, a 12.5-inch 2-in-1 laptop that’s even thinner than the MacBook, but doesn’t sacrifice full-sized USB 3.0 ports. Beyond being thinner, this capable hybrid laptop comes with a faster processor, sharper screen and amazing battery life to boot.

exquisite watchband hinge, it’s still an amazing feat of design, as this mechanism seemingly defies gravity, holding the screen up despite how thin it is. Measuring in at just a mere 12.8mm and weighing 0.99kg, the 900S a tenth of an inch thinner and lighter than its predecessor.

Design

Sacrificing nothing

You would be absolutely correct if you guessed the 12.5-inch Yoga 900S is essentially a slimmeddown version of the 13.3-inch Yoga 900. The laptop’s overall design bears a striking resemblance to Lenovo’s flagship hybrid from the magnesium shell, leatherette interior and the watchbandinspired hinge. Lifting the Yoga 900’s design isn’t a bad thing, though. Lenovo practically doesn’t have to make any major changes because it has already mastered the 2-in-1 format. Although this is the third Yoga notebook to feature the company’s

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The Yoga 900S includes full-sized USB 3.0 ports in addition to USB-C connectivity. What’s more, the touchpad clicks when pressed, and the laptop houses a keyboard with slightly deeper key travel. That said, the touchpad is a bit on the small side – but, at least it offers a smooth, glass-lined surface. Similarly, the keys on the keyboard are a bit on the small side, but they’re spaced far apart and offer the aforementioned travel given the laptop’s thin frame. Personally, the typing experience on this 2-in-1 is only slightly more tolerable than Apple’s low-pile

keyboard. However, you would be better served with plugging in or connecting a dedicated keyboard if you’re trying to do serious work with either machine. The 900S doesn’t feel as much of a sheet of glass and magnesium as it predecessor does. And, it’s less unwieldy given its smaller size, which allows you to hold it up for longer stretches. All the while, it’s still large enough to use as a notebook without feeling like it’s about to slip out of your lap or is quite as cramped as smaller 10- to 12-inch laptops. At the starting price the Yoga 900S comes at a surprisingly high standard considering the base configuration includes a Core m5 processor, 128GB SSD, 4GB of RAM and a 1080p screen – or a QHD+ screen in the UK for £999. The higher-end version is more tantalising and better justifies its price. It comes with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution display, a faster Core m7 processor as well as twice the


Upgrade Lenovo Yoga 900S KEY FEATURES Lenovo Yoga 900S Operating system Windows 10 Processor 1.1GHz Intel Core m5-6Y54 (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 2.7GHz with Turbo Boost) Storage 128GB PCIe SSD RAM 4GB LPDDR3 (1600 MHz) Graphics Intel HD Graphics 515 Ports USB 3.0, USB 2.0, USB Type-C, headset jack Connectivity Lenovo AC Wireless (2x2) + Bluetooth 4.0 Weight 2.2 pounds (9.99g) Size 12.01 x 8.19 x 0.5 inches (W x D x H) (3.05 x 2.08 x 1.28 cm) Screen 12.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD IPS LED glossy multi-touch display Camera 720p webcam

memory and storage compared to the starting configuration.

Performance

More and more thin laptops are abandoning Intel’s Core M platform due to the bad reputation the chip developed in its early days. The Yoga 900S missed out this revolution when it was announced at CES 2016. However, even with only a Core m5 processor, we never feel like the Lenovo Yoga 900S is struggling to keep up. In fact, we can Photoshop a few images without major hitching despite also running five other programs at the same time.Again, this is with the Core

diversion, the Yoga 900 lasted for 7 hours and 16 minutes. Throw in some more serious Photoshop image-editing and the run time still impresses at nearly 6 hours. This is not bad for a laptop that only weighs a little over two pounds, and only takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to fill from empty.

Screen and speakers

With a long battery life and gorgeous screen, the Lenovo Yoga 900S is an excellent streaming video companion. The display renders vibrant colours with blacks deep enough to make you forget about the thick bezels around the edge of the machine.

“Lenovo doesn’t have to make any major changes because it has already mastered the 2-in-1 format” m5 model. We can only imagine the Core m7 version would run even faster.

Battery to last

Most 13-inch laptops get an average of six hours of battery life, the Yoga 900S smashes that average with nearly seven and a half hours of screen-on time. The notebook ran for 7 hours and 21 minutes while playing our standard movie battery test on loop. Even against the gruelling PCMark 8 benchmark, the 12.5-inch hybrid kept chugging along for 6 hours and 29 minutes. On an average workday full of chatting on Skype, editing documents in Word and Google Drive, listening to Google Music and the occasional YouTube video

However, we wished Lenovo went with a brighter panel, as glare is apparent even if you’re sitting far away from a window on a sunny day. We also have to regularly max out the screen brightness while working with documents or just reading up on webpages. The speakers are a little less noteworthy, as they lack power and are merely serviceable. Due to being located on the bottom of the laptop and downward firing, the audio quality can vary between passable on a desk to muffled on your lap. Switching the machine into tablet mode makes the listening experience slightly better.

2-in-1 laptops we’ve ever used. It’s lighter than a MacBook, while featuring stronger specs for a lower price – that includes a sharper screen and faster processor. More than seven hours of battery life on a laptop this thin is baffling. The 900S will never leave you in a lurch, and it performs well even with strenuous tasks, such as gaming and Photoshop. Plus, the inclusion of full-sized USB 3.0 ports means you can leave that USB-C adapter at home – unlike many other ultrathin laptops around. However, if you’re looking for the best performing machine, this probably isn’t it. The 2-in-1 scored worse in every benchmark test save for battery life in its category. While we didn’t feel like the 900S was ever power-deficient, you’ll likely run into bottlenecks sooner with this machine than other Core m5-powered systems. The keyboard and touchpad also aren’t the most comfortable inputs ever seen on a notebook. Whether you want larger keys or a larger pointing device, there’s definitely some room – and available space – for Lenovo to work with here. The Lenovo Yoga 900S isn’t anywhere near perfect, but its strengths outweigh its flaws. ■ A stylish, thin and light machine that delivers reliable performance and amazing battery life.

Final verdict

The Yoga 900S is one of the lightest, and most comfortable, September 2016 |

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Panasonic TX-40DX600 £600 | $850 www.panasonic.co.uk Firefox stars on this great value 4K TV

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his is Panasonic’s best value 4K TV. Four pegs down from the flagship DX900 range, the DX600 series claims a 4K Edge LED-backlit panel with adaptive backlight dimming, 800Hz scanning and Quad Core PRO processor for quick navigation. It also has both a Firefox OS and a Freeview Play catch-up TV app, as do all Panasonic TVs for 2016. This lends it a smart, usable interface to watch Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video on. Panasonic is the only TV manufacturer to use Mozilla’s Firefox OS. To call it simply a smart TV interface ignores the fact it represents a fully joined-up user interface where apps, inputs, external devices and catch-up TV are integrated as one. Firefox is a really easy user interface to understand and to use. The design is minimalist – three colourful, circular icons for live TV, apps and devices are presented against a photographic background

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that also includes a search option, and the current time. You can also ‘pin’ things to the home screen, including the Netflix app, a USB input that you use a lot, or a favourite TV channel. Another great characteristic of the Firefox OS is its plethora of smart TV apps. And while you’ll find the streaming video staples here, there is one absolute standout – Freeview Play. A hub for the catch-up TV apps of UK broadcasters, the Freeview Play app contains simple icons for the BBC iPlayer, ITV, Channel 4 and Five, with links to the BBC’s News and Sport apps. There’s only one thing to do – ‘pin’ Freeview Play to the Home page, which means going back to the Apps page where it’s hosted, and pressing the option key on the remote. On that Apps page are 18 apps pre-installed, including Amazon and Netflix (both 4K HDR-ready), YouTube, AccuWeather, Wuaki.tv, Chilli Cinema, and everything within Freeview Play. There are also

a couple of TV utilities, including a Firefox browser (naturally), a calendar, a link to the Apps market for more downloads, and a shortcut to any TV programmes recorded from the digital TV tuner to an attached, formatted HDD.

The ins and outs

The 40DX600 is very well connected. On a side-panel (to the TV’s left-hand side as you look at it) are a couple of USB slots, an HDMI input, a headphones jack and a Common Interface slot. Nearby, though rear-facing, are analogue inputs for component video and two left/right phonos. Underneath, and down-facing, are a couple of HDCP 2.2-ready HDMI inputs, an optical digital audio output, a RF in for tuning Freeview HD channels, and a wired LAN slot (though the 40DX600 also includes WiFi). It’s also sold as the 49-inch 49DX600 and the 55-inch 55DX600, which makes the 40DX600


Upgrade Panasonic TX-40DX600 KEY FEATURES Panasonic TX-40DX600 Advanced TV features 4K Pure Direct, Game Mode, isf Mode Connectivity HDMI x 2, USB x 2, LAN Port, Component Video Input shared with Composite, Headphone Output Networking features DLNA, easy mirroring, media player, VIERA link, hotel mode Other features Wide colour spectrum, my Home Screen, Freeview Play Picture mode settings Dynamic/ Normal/Cinema/True Cinema/Custom Screen Resolution 3840 (W) x 2160 (H) Screen technology 4K ULTRA HD Screen size 40 Smart TV services Panasonic Media Center (App), Panasonic TV Remote Apps, Swipe & Share, internet apps Sound modes Standard/Music/ Ambience/User Speaker type Dolby Audio, Sound Output (RMS): 20 W (L: 10 W R: 10 W), VR-Audio True Surround, Full Range x 2 Weight 14kg (with stand)

alarmingly smaller than its 4K stablemates. However, both of those larger versions have IPS panels, which tend to lack contrast, so perhaps the VA panel-endowed 40DX600 does have an advantage despite its size. One of the biggest downsides of the 40DX600 is that it doesn’t do HDR. Considering that HDR is supposed to be the next revolution in TV watching, that’s a shame. But don’t kid yourself – this is an assured 4K-TV easily capable of demonstrating just how impressive the new resolution can be. (And, if you can’t fathom shelling out for a

Full HD material retains all of these plus-points, though do be wary of watching standard-def channels from the built-in HD tuner. They do look pretty blocky, though just about clean enough to watch. The TV’s Firefox OS extends to how external devices are handled, with icons taking you to videos stored on a USB stick – and we got plenty of playback skills. For the first time ever, we managed to get a 4K TV to playback 4K-rendered files in MKV, MP4 and TS formats. The 40DX600 also supported a plethora of files encoded in MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and

“It has a fully joined-up user interface where apps, inputs, external devices and catch-up TV are as one” non-HDR 4K TV, take a look at the one-step-higher 40DX700.) That said, being saddled with boring old standard dynamic range is not the quite prison sentence you might have imagined. A blast of football in 4K reveals great detail, and enough brightness and motion clarity to carry it off. When the camera swings into the penalty area quickly there is a touch of motion judder, but it’s so slight. There’s little in the way of light spill from the edge LED backlight, but the viewing angle is not great – watch from the wings and the colours do pale significantly. That also applies to black levels, but here again the 40DX600 punches above its weight when viewed head-on.

H.264, including AVC HD, MPEG, MP4, AVI, WMV and even WMV HD.

Sound off

The TV isn’t blessed with anything other than average audio. It’s almost always the way with flat TVs at this price-point, but it’s hard to get excited about the three basic settings: standard, music, and ambience. All three are much alike, featuring plenty of clarity, but little low frequency. However, if you’re watching a film we suggest you engage the virtual surround mode and push the bass up a little. It’s not the surround sound it claims to be, but it does give a fuller, more balanced end product, albeit with slightly harsh treble highs.

It’s hard to argue against the TV in terms of value. Some might say that including 4K resolution on such a small screen is pushing it, but the good news is that those extra pixels don’t negatively affect the image quality on lower quality sources. The choice of desktop stand might attract some, though any feeling of quality won’t last for long – the 40DX600’s build is fairly lightweight and lacks the solidity of TVs further up the food chain.

Final verdict

If you want 4K at the cheapest possible price, this TV is for you, but its talents stretch further than simple pixels. Excelling with bright 4K footage and all kinds of Full HD, this 40-incher nevertheless fails to make 4K movies truly pop. There’s a slight issue with viewing angles, but otherwise it handles all sources with consistent clarity, with plenty of colour and motion sequences that are smooth enough, though images never reach benchmark quality. ■ Comes with plenty of apps as well as clean colourful images that make it a great-value contender.

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Withings Go

£50 | $80 www.withings.com Withings’ most affordable tracker yet doesn’t skimp on novelty

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he allure of a cool smartwatch is strong, but sometimes all you need is a simple activity tracker. Withings Go, the company’s most affordable wearable yet, is just that. It doesn’t constantly push notifications or remind you where you need to be. The Go just tells you the time and bothers you only to tell you how close you are to reaching your goal. But there’s a bit more going on under its simple shell than it suggests. It can auto-detect your workout of choice from activities like jogging and swimming. And, it is but a small, circular sensor that can be popped out and placed into either a traditional watch form factor or a pedometer-like clip.

In the box

Included in the box are the watch and clip attachments in the colour of your choice. Each configuration shows off its e-ink screen, which may not look like much, but translates to an experience that’s easy to digest for up to eight months, thanks to its cell battery. The circular e-screen runs about an inch from end to end. This display is hugged with a white bezel, which hides itself once you slip it into its encasing.

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It might seem obvious, but the display serves as your means for digesting info. Pressing a finger down on the screen until you feel a click will switch the view to show the time. It’s not a fancy feature, but credit for implementing the only control in a clever way. Extending out from its e-ink display is the white module that houses the rest of the guts. Popped out of the watch or clip-on moulds, the Go module is no thicker than a finger and no heavier than a small handful of coins. It’s not the most visually arresting design, but like the goal of the Go, its simplicity is intentional. And this simple design allows it to do some cool stuff, like pack in tremendous battery life and waterproofing protection up to 50m. The Go can be inserted into the provided silicon watch to give it a more traditional look. If you don’t want to wear it as a watch, Withings also includes a plastic case that allows you to tuck it out of sight. You can clip it to your pocket, shoes, or onto your car keys. No matter which enclosure you choose, this low-profile device is tough enough to withstand the elements. You don’t even have to take it off to jump in the shower.

The Withings Go is a true “set it and forget it” wearable that requires zero charging and minimal input from the user – it just allows you to get on with your day. Withings’ affordable wearable isn’t a technical powerhouse, especially when compared to today’s best smartwatches that act as a “computer on your wrist”. But it doesn’t need to be that. The always-on e-ink display powers a basic, yet good-looking interface that gets the job done and, so long as you know the limited nature of what you’re buying into, it doesn’t leave much to be desired.

Performance

Just a few moments after you take the Go out of its box, it greets you with your walking progress and the time. And after just a minute’s worth of setup, you’ll forget it’s on your wrist – in other words, it won’t dictate your life with reminders and notifications. It’s there when you need it, like before bed when you want to reflect on your accomplishments. Once you do start moving, so does the Go. Tracking, in general, works well. Step monitoring is accurate, as is its ability to track


Upgrade Withings Go KEY FEATURES Withings Go Battery life 243 days User interface E-ink screen Colours Yellow, Red, Blue, Green, Black Syncing Bluetooth 4.0, USB sync Compatibility iOS, Android Water resistant Yes Tracking features Activity/inactivity, calories burned, distance, steps, exercise tagging, sleep quality, sleep time

sleep. The app does little more to reward you for meeting your step goal than to change the Go’s centre symbol to a star shape, but the metrics for your sleep are nicely detailed.

Interface

The screen shows your progress by wrapping tick markers around the border of the screen. Once the ticks make a full circle, you’ve reached your goal and the walking icon turns into a star. Tracking progress is simple, but checking the

regardless of smartphone OS allegiance. Well, sort of. Windows 10 Mobile isn’t currently supported for the Go, but anything above iOS 8 and Android 4.3 can run it. Third-party app integration is a big deal for those who are deep into fitness. Thankfully, the Withings companion app doesn’t disappoint. It’s compatible with Apple Health, Google Fit, MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper and Nike+ Fuel. To get the Go up and running, you’ll need the Withings Health

“It won’t dictate your life with reminders and notifications – it’s just there when you need it” time is more complicated than it should be. You need to press the screen in to see the time. The clock face will automatically go back to the goal-tracking screen after about five seconds. But the Withings Go app does allow users to adjust the colour theme between light and dark. Each looks pretty bold and the one you’ll choose just comes down to personal taste. You can get suited up with Withings’ latest fitness tracker

Mate app. It’s the same one that manages its other products, like the Withings Activité Pop and Withings Pulse. Setup is simple, but a little slow compared to other devices that operate over a low-energy Bluetooth connection. It’s possible that Withings will patch the app and the Go to communicate in less time, but it currently takes too long to make simple adjustments in the settings.

If you’re someone who likes to keep an eye on your in-depth metrics, the Withings companion app won’t disappoint. It’s up there in terms of its visual design and ease of use. While waiting for the Go to sync with the app does take some time, it’s so worth it just to see the vivid, detailed breakdown of your activities. The app’s homepage and dashboard make it easy to parse through daily and weekly wrap-ups for personal reflection. But if competing with friends is more your style, Withings has you covered here. Leaderboards allow you to face-off against your companions to see who can walk, run, sleep or swim more. It’s a rather basic social feature, but appreciated nonetheless. For as much promise as wearables often hold, battery life is a low point. Thankfully, that isn’t a problem with Withings Go. Whether the efficient e-ink screen gets all of the credit, or it’s just the limited functionality of the Go in general, you can’t cough at a battery that lasts for eight months.

Final verdict

The Withings Go is a good fitness tracker for those with simple needs. This wearable doesn’t aim to spark a revolution in the way that you work out, nor does it pack in the features to push the endless stream of notifications to your wrist. But, in a market where every other device tries to do just that, the Go is a refreshing breath of air in that it defies the trends to make a solid, reliable, long-lasting tracker that doesn’t cost the Earth. ■ While others accomplish more, this versatile wearable offers a surprising amount for a small cost.

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Sound travelS

Whether you’re in the garden, at the beach or camping, these compact and portable Bluetooth speakers will ensure you’re never far from your favourite tracks

ummer’s finally here, which means (in theory) it’s time to get outside, laze in the sunshine and listen to your favourite tunes. Portable Bluetooth speakers make it easy to enjoy music wherever you are – just fire them up, pair them with your smartphone and start streaming. these little wireless wonders are geared up for the great outdoors, with compact designs that you can bung in a bag or pocket, as well as a robust build-quality that guards against knocks and bumps. they’re splashproof, protecting them from summer showers, while lengthy battery life means you won’t have to hunt for a plug socket. Here’s six of the best…

S

1 Creative Sound Blaster Free £59.99 www.creative.com Creative’s cylindrical speaker can be placed horizontally or vertically, the latter position offering 360-degree sound. This robust speaker comes in white or black with red trim and rubber end panels. It’s IPX4-rated (splashproof), boasts a ten-hour battery life, and plays MP3, WAV and FLAC files from microSD cards. Placed horizontally, it offers decent stereo separation, but the thin treble and hard, spiky midrange become overbearing at loud volumes. Bass isn’t particularly deep either, something that Loud mode does little to rectify.

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1 2

2 Riva S £199 www.rivaaudio.co.uk With its white-gloss bodywork, wraparound metal grille and touch controls, the Riva S is a beautifully made speaker. Its appearance isn’t best suited to rugged outdoor use, but IPX4 splash resistance is fine for the poolside, while 13 hours of battery life keeps the party rocking. True Wireless tech lets you sync two Riva S speakers in stereo, while a unique phono mode enhances vinyl playback. Three full-range ADX drivers and four bass radiators deliver a luxury listening experience, with fulsome mids and bass, silky treble and an expansive soundstage thanks to Trillium processing.

3 Urbanista Melbourne £59 www.urbanista.com Its compact size makes the Melbourne perfect for slipping into your rucksack or pocket, with a tough silicon cover and a solid metal grille protecting against any knocks or drops. It’s splashproof, and sports a handy strap and mini-jack input, but the six-hour battery life is comparatively short. The Melbourne sounds surprisingly loud and bassy for its size, with decent detail and vocal clarity, although the 40mm drivers and bass radiator on the back get a bit wild at loud volumes. For convenience and portability, it’s a decent punt though.


Upgrade Travel speakers

4

3 6

5 4 Ultimate Ears Roll £100 www.ultimateears.com This ultra-portable speaker comes in seven vibrant colours – Atmosphere (above) being our favourite – and was born for the great outdoors. It’s fashioned from tough, premium materials with marine-grade bungee cords on the back, while IPX7 certification means it can be immersed in water. The nine-hour battery life isn’t the longest here, but the two-inch driver and twin tweeters offer a crisp, dynamic sound. More bass wouldn’t go amiss – it’s a bit soft for our liking – but that’s probably not a huge concern while kayaking or scaling a rock face.

5 Libratone Zipp Mini

6 B&O A1 £199 www.beoplay.com

£179 www.libratone.com The Zipp Mini throws WiFi and multi-room into the mix, enabling you to stream music via Spotify, AirPlay, DLNA and internet radio. It’s visually striking with a satin finish, an ingenious touch interface and interchangeable covers. It’s too big and heavy for extended outdoor use, despite the sturdy handle, although the ten-hour battery life is decent. Its 360-degree sound is wonderful; full-bodied midrange and sweet treble lend a sense of refinement that’s missing from rivals, while hearty bass notes bring you closer to a proper hi-fi system.

The A1’s compact, circular shape and sturdy leather hanging strap are tailor-made for camping trips and beach lounging. It’s expensive, but the price is reflected in the hard-wearing, splashproof aluminium grille and tactile polymer base. Even more impressive is the quoted 24-hour battery life, giving you an entire day’s worth of music before it needs charging. With 2 x 140W of power, 360-degree dispersion and a built-in subwoofer, the A1 plays bigger and louder than its size suggests, but it’s also remarkably finessed and articulate for such a portable speaker.

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