How to Change the Start Button Position in Windows 11
The Start button is now in the centre! This is how to Change the Start Button Position in Windows 11 if you don’t like it. The big thing you will notice when starting windows 11 is that the start button has migrated to the centre of the taskbar. Indeed, Windows 11 seems to be quite good at first glance but the change of position of the start button might be a deal-breaker for some. The start button has been in the same position for nearly 30 years and, likewise, people don’t like change. So what if I don’t like its new position? This is easily changed…
Firstly, right-click on a blank bit of the taskbar
Secondly, left-click the ‘Taskbar Settings’ that appears
Thirdly, in the Personalisation Taskbar box that appears go to Taskbar behaviours at the bottom
Click on the box and, then, the first option is Taskbar alignment
You can choose between the centre and left
It’s as simple as that. However, If learning by watching is your method you are in luck. I have created a little video on Youtube. Indeed, below on changing the Start Button Position in Windows 11.
As you can see there is nothing to it. Windows 11 seems to be not so much of a new upgrade, it is more like a rearranging of the furniture. It has a few new bits and, of course, with more features to come. But mainly it works in the same way as previous versions of Windows. It just has a new look to get used to. And generally, human beings don’t like change! But personally, I like it!
Not sure about Windows 11? Of course, It is a bit different. But not that much. Most things, indeed, work the same way. My only wish would be to have kept the right-click menu the same as Windows 10. but alas, now we have little pictures and to get to rename, you have to click on ‘show more options’. A minor gripe to be sure. At the time of writing, I have been using windows 11 for a little over a month and I’ve not managed to break it! Yet!
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The website is full of tips, tricks and information with How to Change the Start Button Position in Windows 11 being just one of them. Any of the above articles are clickable and I add more all the time, so check back often. Click here to go to the homepage to find out more. If you would like a specific list of the services we offer click here.
Okay, first look at Windows 11. I am always what is classed as an early adopter of technology and new things. Personally, I like discovering new things and playing about with new stuff. I think that why I use windows, it has the ability to more than say, a Mac. Don’t get me wrong, Macs are good at what they do, they just don’t do enough for ME. Anyhow, back to the first look at Windows 11.
The big difference is the start button in the middle of the task bar. It still works the same as before but just has a slightly different look. Your most commonly used apps are displayed there. Access it by clicking on it or by hitting the ‘Windows + S’ keys together.
If you click on the ‘all apps’ at the top, this below appears. An alphabetical list of all the apps (programs) appear. So pretty much works the same as before, just a different look. And with this particular release of Windows 11 that can be it’s mantra ‘works the same as before, just a different look’
I say this particular release because all of the features have not been rolled out yet. Such as the running Android apps in Windows 11. We won’t see this feature until 2022 probably.
Windows 11 search box
The search box is still next to the start button but a feature I like is that when you hover over it it shows the last searches you performed. It saves having to type it in again. Computers are supposed to save you time!
Windows 11 folders look
The folder icons as you can see below have been jazed up a bit. Microsoft, like lots of people, go with fashions, and I think they are coming out of there ‘minimalist’ phase. So, we have little pictures on the folders and some colouring in of the Icons. Does it make a difference to the using of the machine? No, but it is a visual difference and some will like it and others hate it.
Widgets in Windows 11
By pressing Windows + W on the keyboard you can get the widgets box up. This isn’t Microsofts first attempt at sidebars and widgets. There is a weather app that is useful but an awful lot of click bait. To customise it, click on your account picture which brings up an additional box where you can customise the things that appear there.
Also you can also customise your interests. This takes you to a web page, below, where you can mark interests. I personally hope they expand the interests because there is not much for me here! But hey, I can’t see myself using this feature much.
When it’s all said and done Windows 11 is a free upgrade if you are running windows 10 and your hardware supports it. Check here for more info on that.
First look at Windows 11 – Conclusions
Yeah, it’s going to be a wait and see as all Microsoft releases are. For the average home user, I’d say give it a year for others to iron out the bugs…
The Compatibility Tool For Windows 11 is finally back. If you have been reading these posts in order you will know that when I posted here on the 14th of September the Compatibility Tool For Windows 11 had been removed because it was unreliable. The Compatibility Tool For Windows 11 is now back on Microsoft’s page here. Let’s walk you through it…
Click on the banner on the page above (it’s at the bottom of that Microsoft page) to initiate the download. Once it has downloaded, run the program and you are faced with the screen below
All you have to do is click on the check now button underneath the words ‘Introducing Windows 11’. There is no need to sign in with Microsoft as it suggests. You’ll only get that message if you are running a local account on your computer and not one where you have to sign in with your Microsoft username and password. Click the check now button and your results will be displayed after a short pause.
Compatibility Tool For Windows 11 – Results
As you can see, the PC I’m writing this on isn’t compatible with several things. The secure boot on this PC I have turned off but it would be easy to turn it back on again in the bios. The TPM is the thing I don’t have. For a full explanation of the TPM see my earlier post about it here. Also, the processor isn’t new enough. The latest processors are 11th generation, mine is only generation 3 (almost antique in computer terms). If you click on the ‘see all results’ button it will show you what is right with your computer in Windows 11 eyes. The initial results only show you what is wrong.
Compatibility Tool For Windows 11 – Different Opinions
As an aside, I had a chat with an employee at Currys/PC World today about this. The first chap I spoke to couldn’t tell me if the laptop I was looking at had a TPM in it! All the display machines can’t run the ‘TPM.MSC@ command to check as you need administrator rights to run it. The second chap was under the impression that on the day of release the requirements for running Windows 11 will be magically dropped to allow it to run on PCs that don’t meet these requirements. I am extremely dubious of this, to say the least… Anyway back to the Compatibility Tool For Windows 11
What is right about the PC – Compatibility Tool For Windows 11
This tells you the minimum specs – at least 4GB of RAM, well, no problem there. At least 64GB of disk space. Personally, I’d want at least 128GB just to run windows and deal with all the future updates. I see many disappointed people who have bought laptops with 32GB of storage that struggles to have enough room to run Windows 10!
If you are going to buy a new PC to run Windows 11, make sure it has enough disk space or at least the option to have more storage added. There is a range of cheap laptops out there with ‘eMMC’ storage. The E stands for embedded, it is soldered directly onto the motherboard and more often than not cannot be upgraded. Some of the cheap windows 10 laptops only have 32GB eMMC storage so will not run windows 11.
Clicking on the last box ‘ Device Specifications’ is nothing to get excited about, it just takes you to the notice below.
But, when you run it on a compatible machine, you get this.
So there you have it, the Compatibility Tool For Windows 11 is now been released. As I write this on the 3rd of October 2021 with the Windows 11 release only 2 days away. I wonder how it will go for Microsoft. If they follow the usual pattern of releases, in my humble opinion it’ll be a duffer. I hope I’m wrong as running native Android phone apps on my PC is something I’d like, but we’ll have to wait and see. If you are an early adopter you’ll go for it anyway. But, I think most of my customers will be like the chap I was talking to the other day ‘I’ll give it a year and let other people iron out all the bugs’ wise words methinks…
How to NOT give away your personal data on Social media
A quick pointer on how to NOT give away your personal data on Social media. I’m going to focus on a specific way I mainly see on Facebook as well as other platforms. However, I shall primarily use Facebook as an example. And I’m not for one moment saying these pages are harvesting your data, but they are a goldmine for those who want to.
The first picture is fairly self-explanatory of course, answer and you have just given away your age! The second one, however, is slightly more obscure, it is fishing for your security question information. Indeed, your first job is a security question on some websites. The last in blue is essentially how long you have been married.
Ok, this seems incredibly paranoid and you might be thinking who would trawl through this website and pick out this information about you? It’s not created by some kids in a basement somewhere, these and even worse quizzes can be created by big criminal networks to harvest your data!
The last one is slightly more obscure but people tend to tag their siblings in the reply, thus giving away more information about you and your family! You are being socially engineered to give your information away.
A quick note on Passwords
Passwords can be the bane of modern life and the original instructions were to never write them down. That has changed, however. It is OK to write them down as long as you don’t keep the book or paper next to the computer. Or worse still, have them on post-it notes attached to the computer. I keep mine all in a book which I update regularly when one changes. I keep the book tucked away in a draw, nowhere near a computer. For more information see Computer Passwords and being safe online.
How to NOT give away your personal data on Social media – the why…
As you can see, if you are not aware, it is extremely easy to give away your personal data. I mentioned the full-on Facebook quizzes earlier- they are even worse! The full-blown quizzes manipulate you by the desire to feel included and make you feel unique or special in some way. Once you have clicked on the quiz the developer/maker of the quiz can gain access to your public profile data, friends list and email address and maybe more.
Once you have taken the quiz you are encouraged to share your result by posting it. Obviously, you’ve passed the quiz and they say something nice about you – they show you an insight into your character you find amusing or desirable. Of course, if the quiz result was something nasty about you you wouldn’t share it, so by saying something nice you are more likely to share the result on your timeline. Now your friends can see, thus advertising their quiz and enabling more personal data harvesting. So the best answer to these problems is not to take quizzes or answer questions, even if it is just to find out what your name means!
How to NOT give away your personal data on Social media – Conclusions
If you do want to find out what your name means, you can do it without taking a quiz! just use google or a search engine of your choice…
So, we have a date, the Windows 11 Release Date is October 5th 2021. For other bits of windows 11 I have covered, see Windows 11 and Windows 11 news so far. Microsoft still seems to be looking at the TPM ( mentioned in Windows 11 news so far ). But the news is it will be a free update on compatible devices. But with the Microsoft compatibility checker not working at the time of writing, it’s a bit difficult to know if your machine will be compatible.
That said, early adopters will go for it as soon as they can but if you are not desperate, I’d say hang fire for a while and let other people work out the bugs first.
The video below, from the Microsoft youtube channel, doesn’t really tell us much. As will all advertising these days, it’s heavy on selling you a lifestyle but for specifics of Windows 11, you’ll have to dig a bit deeper.
I’ve added a link below to the 2021 Microsoft Windows event. It’s 44 minutes long and it’s a heavy sell. I’ve been around in computing for a while now and while all new windows operating systems are released with heavy fanfare, but only time will tell if they are any good. Obviously, some people are resistant to change. Some, of course, embrace change. But there have been notable successes and some notable duffers. Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 10 have proved very popular. Indeed, Windows Vista and Windows 8 were not universally loved to say the least.
Windows 11 Release Date – Will it be any good?
Will Windows 11 be any good? Really, the only way is to try it. Some will love it and some will hate it. Some won’t change because their brother’s aunties dog tried it and didn’t like it. But ultimately, it is what works for you and what you find comfortable to work with.
A few bits of news scoured from around the web about Windows 11 – News So Far. This follows on from my original article about Windows 11
Well, there used to be a download from Microsoft, called the Windows 11 compatibility tool. Microsoft launched the tool to help see if your PC was compatible with Windows 11 but they have since pulled it from use after complaints that it was inaccurate. They are promising a new tool and it should be available here when it comes.
Windows 11 and TPM
Some older PCs will not be able to run windows 11. This one I’m typing on will not be able to run it due to not having a TPM chip (Trusted Platform Module 2.0). Yeah, what’s that? I didn’t know either so I looked it up. The TPM chip, it turns out, is a good thing to have! It stores login information that is, allegedly, impossible to hack. Checking to see if you have this is not straightforward.
Press the Windows and R keys together
This brings up this box below,
Type in the box tpm.msc
Then press ok.
Another box will appear
TPM is not found?
This is the box you will get if you have no TPM chip or the TPM is not found. Confusingly, this is also the box you will get if you have the TPM turned off in the BIOS. To check this you need to restart your PC and get into the UEFI BIOS settings. This process is different on every PC so refer to your documentation or the manufacturer’s website.. Common ways to get into it are pressing F2 or Del key when the computer starts up. Look through all the settings in the bios to see whether there is a reference to TPM or Trusted Platform Support and enable it.
There, told you it wasn’t straightforward.
If you do have one, you’ll get this box;
If you get this box it is one of the signs that Windows 11 can run on your PC but until Microsoft release their tool again, you won’t know if you can run the rest. Keep Checking the Windows 11 website for when it is released again. You can click on the picture below which will take you to the website.
Windows 11 (and what we know so far) is of course, subject to change, but this is what Microsoft has said so far. It will available around Christmas 2021. You will be able to upgrade for free, from Windows 10.
The full-page where these pictures are from can be found at the Microsoft site, here New Windows 11 OS | Microsoft. Of course, Microsoft are telling you on this page how wonderful it is. Of course, they are the ones trying to hawk it! But the free upgrade may appeal to some. I have heard that Windows 10 will no longer be supported from 2025 which fits in line with other operating system timelines.
Personally, I am a little disappointed Microsoft were not able to hold to the detail they mentioned when Windows 10 came out – they said it would be the last operating system they release and they would just release updates for it.
How good will Windows 11 be?
Only time will tell. Microsoft in the past have tended to release a good operating system, then a duff one in my opinion. Windows 98, good, Windows 2000? A bit of a duffer. The Same with Windows XP, good, then they followed it up with Vista. The same with Windows 7! Good, and then Windows 8 was released… Will 11 follow the same pattern?
Should I change?
The industry tends to wait a year before even considering an upgrade. I’ll have it from the word go but I’ll still be running windows 10 on my workshop computers as it’s proved itself to be reliable. As human beings, the older we get the less we like change. Many people will be resistant to it because it is different
The minimum system requirements are below, but if you only just meet the requirements, consider upgrading your hardware as it will probably run like a dog on some older machines out there. I consider an I3 or equivalent, 8GB RAM and an SSD to be minimum requirements for windows 10, so we can probably think along those lines.
Of course, everything I’ve said above can be taken with a pinch of salt. Until it is released, we won’t know what we are getting!
Computer Passwords and Being Safe Online – One of the pains of the modern world is passwords. They are very necessary, unfortunately! Passwords keep us safe and the more complicated the password the safer the thing it is protecting is. However, there is a huge caveat with this statement. Even the most complicated password is useless if you tell someone.
But I wouldn’t tell anyone my password, I hear you cry! Yes, in normal situations, I.e somebody stops you in the street and says ‘ give me your password’ you wouldn’t.
However, if you go to a website and put in your password, and it’s an unfriendly website, dressed up to look like a legitimate website, a spoof website, you’ve just given your password away.
If you’ve answered an email saying that you need to go to a company website to reenter your password because you’ve been locked out of your account, are you sure you really want to click on the link in the email? These ways of gaining somebodies password are known as social engineering. It’s getting you to give away your password. There is a good article on the BBC website that talks about Social engineering. These are the most common ways. Another way to gain a password is through a keystroke logger. It’s a little program or virus that makes a note of all your presses on the keyboard and sends it to the enemy or ‘hacker’.
Rarely, it is the classic Hollywood image of the person hunched over a keyboard running a program that tries lots of different combinations to gain access to something.
Another trick is to use social media posts and quizzes. It’s a big subject so it has its own post. See How to NOT give away your personal data on social media.
As a little primer for this beginners guide to Computer Passwords and Being Safe Online, some common terms I have used are browser and address bar. Firstly, let me explain those.
This is what you view the ‘Internet’ on. It’s a little program that lets you see the internet. Whether it is Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge, Firefox or one of the others. The logos you click on look a bit like this;
This is the line on top of your browser where the website address you are currently on appears. You can type in this line, click in it to get the flashing I Beam or cursor, in it. If you know the website address you are looking for you can type in this line and not have to go through a search engine to find it. See the picture below for where it is. It’s the bit that is highlighted in yellow
Also, take note of the little padlock, I’ll mention that later. Knowing these terms, if you don’t already will help you with the words below.
Ok, let’s run through how to avoid scams and help you with Computer Passwords and Being Safe Online
When going to a website always check in the address bar that it is the correct website. See the image below for the address bar. If it is different from what you expect to see, don’t go there!
Here I’ve used pictures from google. The red around the address bar is showing the double ‘N’ in amazon. You wouldn’t get me to go to these websites in real life! For a full explanation see Wiki – Spoof Website. Also, check for the little padlock in the address bar, it means the website has a certain level of encryption. This and the trick below are an example of Phishing. Phishing is basically a fraudulent attempt to gain access to your data.
This is different from the email approach. Never click on a link in an email. Never. Even if you think it might be genuine. If you are unsure if you have been locked out of your account, type the company web address directly in your browser.
Above, I’m using an example here from my personal email. It’s an email from, allegedly, PayPal.
If I hover (but not click) over the ‘check your account’ bit, the address it is going to go to appears in the bottom left corner
And that is definitely not a PayPal address! As I said, if you are unsure, type the Web address of the company in question into your browser and see if you have login issues. Another thing to look out for is spelling and grammar in the email. ‘Paypal ask to update your account’ is not great English!
This is the more traditional Hollywood approach. However, it is rarer than the others, because it’s much easier to get someone to give you their password information in one of the above methods. For a more complete definition of hacking, see here – Hacking – Wikipedia.
Also, these days there are those annoying captchas. Sometimes it’s pictures and sometimes it is some letters written funny. This is to prove you are human. A computer program has difficulty identifying numbers or pictures. The Captchas may be annoying but they are a useful security feature…
A reason these exist is to stop the number-crunching brigade. It’s very difficult to program an automated system to recognise pictures. Although not impossible, it’s not readily available to most people.
The major rule is don’t use the same password for everything. Use Capital and lower case letters and numbers and special characters if you can.
Write them down
Contrary to the advice given a few years ago, the best thing is to write them down in a little book. But don’t keep the book next to your computer! And certainly don’t use post-it notes and put them all over your monitor – If you get burgled you’ll be in trouble. Resetting peoples passwords where they have been forgotten is one of the most common problems people call me about.
Computer Passwords and Being Safe Online – Summary
Mainly, it is just being wary online. Yes, write your complicated passwords down in a little book but don’t keep that next to the computer. If you get one of the emails and you’re not sure, phone the company they purport to be on the phone number on the bill to check. Also, in your pursuit of online safety, it’s worth being aware of scam calls. Read more about How to deal with scam calls here. Let’s be safe out there!
Ugh!!! We’ve all had scam calls!!! You know, the calls that claim to be from Microsoft / Windows / BT / Openreach / Your internet service provider. But they are a scam. However, if you are unsure what to do read on as this is How to deal with Scam calls.
What should I do?
Put the phone down. If you are unsure it was a scam call, phone the number on your Broadband bill or go to your Internet Service Providers website, BT, Talk Talk, PlusNet or whoever it is and get the phone number from the contact us section of the website. Microsoft will never call you, nor will BT Openreach. Unfortunately, scam calls are a plague! The only time Openreach can call customers direct except the morning of a previously arranged visit which was booked with your broadband supplier. Even then, they will only usually confirm arrival times…
Here is a news report from the BBC about a scam and there is also a section at the bottom of the BBC page about how to avoid being scammed.
The good news is that there are successful arrests in some cases, story, so if you have been a victim of a scam – report it. It may stop somebody else being scammed. Unfortunately, it is a case however of not trusting anyone you don’t know. If you are in doubt, talk to a professional. Try to deal with someone who has been recommended to you by a friend or relative.
How to deal with Scam calls – Conclusions
Following the above advice goes a long way to keep yourself safe from scammers and scam calls. If you are unsure, put the phone down. Then call the company back on a number you have found, on a bill or the company website. Don’t call back on a number they gave you as that is one of the worst things you can do.