How to update Microsoft Windows 10 manually

The procedure

Click on Start > Settings

windows-10-settings

Click on Update & security

windows-10-update

Finally, click on Check for updates

windows-10-update-check

This starts the check and update process

Note: I have found a cases with Dell notebooks where the WiFi and wireless adapters stop working and refuse to connect.

In these instances, the following procedure helps:

  1. Disable and re-enable the WiFi adapters
  2. Restart the PC
  3. Run updates

 

How to install SARS Easyfile Employer

The “foolproof” method for getting Easyfile Employer installed and working

I have had a lot of problems with this application at clients. It seems that it is VERY incompatible when the Java Runtime or Adobe AIR programs  update. They can render the program unusable – or it just hangs when trying to login. Database corruptions are also very common.

Backup FIRST

I recommend to clients that they ALWAYS backup the database for Easyfile BEFORE AND AFTER working in it as a standard operating procedure.

Notes on resolving problems

Note 1: If you use Java for any other application (like some banking apps), you need to make a note of the version installed, as installing older versions may be incompatible with these apps

Note 2: If the program still hangs after following the procedure below, you need to manually move the database folders FIRST (to the Desktop for example) so that you can do a clean install. 

Database Location
C:|Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\easyfileEmployer.{hash} and easyFile-employer.air (Move both folders)

If the database is corrupt the program will not open properly and you will have to install as per below. If you do not have a recent backup, you will have to recapture your information. 
Sometimes, you can copy the contents of the easyFileEmployer.{hash}\Localstore\ back from where you moved it (after a clean install) and the database will be OK - the original problem was just with the program

How to install Easyfile

  1. Uninstall Easyfile, Adobe AIR and ALL Java Runtime Environments
  2. Restart your PC
  3. Download the Easyfile application from SARS here
  4. Run the setup program
  5. Allow Easyfile to install Java, AIR and Easyfile – the versions of the apps included in the Easyfile setup file (DO NOT INSTALL Java or AIR separately)
  6. DO NOT UPDATE JAVA OR AIR WHEN PROMPTED!
  7. Open the program, let it run all of its updates, create the users and passwords when prompted and
  8. Good luck!

You may find the following links helpful as well:

SARS e@syFile Employers Manual Backup & Restore

SARS Easyfile Employer Problems – Troubleshooting

How to improve performance in Windows 10

This is a quick way to boost system performance a little bit

Open your System Properties

Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > System

Click on “Advanced system settings”

system-properties

 

Click on the Advanced tab, and then click on the Settings button

advanced-settings

On the Visual Effects tab, click on Custom and select ONLY “Smooth edges of screen fonts“, then click OK

performance-options

 

How to stop Windows 10 from automatically installing network devices and shares

It can be unhelpful when Windows 1o installs EVERY shared network resource it finds like printers, shared files and shared media

To STOP automatic network resource installs

Open your Network and Sharing Center

Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Network and Sharing Center

Click on “Change advanced sharing settings”

network-settings

Now Un-tick the checkbox for “Turn on automatic setup of network connected devices

sharing-options

Prevent problems and improve performance in Microsoft Outlook by restricting the number of items in your folders

Suggested guidelines for maximum number of items in special folders

Special folders are:

Inbox

Sent Items

Contacts

Calendar

Aim to keep the maximum number of items in these folders below 1,000

Guidelines for other folders

Aim for not more than 5,000

(Note limits exist that are MUCH higher than those suggested above – but these will really help performance and prevent problems)

Having more than 10,000 items in a folder can really impact performance, especially special folders

How do you see how many items are in each folder?

Click on the folder

The number of items is displayed in the bottom left hand corner of Microsoft Outlook in its status bar

outlook-items

How to keep your Inbox and Sent Items small and other tips

Aim for an Inbox of ZERO
Apply this principle to your Sent Items as well

The principles in Getting Things Done by David Allen is also a great resource

If you have a lot of items (10,000+) in your folders, it may be quicker to just move mail older than a few months into folders for each year, or to move mail by category

Delete what you do not need

Empty your Deleted Items

You can also arrange by Size, To or From and then expand or collapse these groups to bulk move or delete items

How to structure your folders

  • Create a folder structure that is simple to understand
  • Use subfolders
  • Archive older things in folders that are named by date (e.g. “2016” or by category “Payments”

Here is an example you can use as a starting point:

outlook-folders

Note: Ctrl-Shift-E is the keyboard shortcut to create a new folder

How to rebuild your search index in Microsoft Outlook (which helps if searching in Outlook is incomplete or out of date)

How to do it

Open the Control Panel

(A quick way to open the Control Panel in Microsoft Windows 8 or 10is to right-click on the Start button and select it from the power menu that pops up. For Windows 7 click Start > Setting > Control Panel)

Now access the Indexing Options

Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Indexing Options

indexing-options

Click the Advanced button

outlook-indexing

Click the Rebuild button

outlook-indexing-advanced

It will now display the following status message

Click OK

outlook-indexing-rebuild

Note: This can take a few hours

 

How to lock the screen on your PC or notebook running Microsoft Windows

To lock the screen manually

Just press

Windows-L

to lock the screen

To lock the screen automatically
(when the screen saver is activated)

Open your Screen Saver Settings

(Go to Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Personalization > Screen Saver)

Tick the checkbox for “On resume, display logon screen

screen-saver-settings

Note: You will need to login again (and everything on your desktop will be as you left it

How to save an older Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (97-2003) in a newer file format (2007+)

The Problem

Older versions of Excel spreadsheets (97-2003) often prompt you to

"Check compatibility when saving this workbook"

excel-compatibility-checker

This can lead to inconsistencies in formats and can be tiresome. Remove these unwanted prompts permanently by saving them in a newer version

Another advantage of saving in the newer Excel file format is that they typically take at least half the disk space – which makes them quicker to open and save, as well as saving valuable disk space

The older file format saves and Excel spreadsheet as an XLS file
(Excel 2003 icon example below)

excel-2003-icon

The newer file formats save as an XLSX file
(Excel 2010 icon example below)

excel-2010-icon

How to do it

Press F12 (keyboard shortcut to open the Save As .. box)

excel-save-display

Click Save as Type and change it from “Excel 97-2003 Workbook” to
Excel Workbook

excel-save-newer

Sorted! 🙂

P.S. And here’s an example comparison of file sizes:

excel-file-size-comparison

 

 

 

Error installing MindManager on Windows 10

You will receive an error like this one:

The installation of Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package (x64only) has failed.

Setup will now exit.

The problem is caused by upgrading to Windows 10 from previous versions of Windows

Go to Mindjet’s MindManager download site

Mindjet Downloads Library

and download the Admin package

Now open the downloaded zip file and run the installer

ALTERNATIVELY

Install a clean build of Windows 10 – a clean install is the BEST install

I have also found that a clean install can considerably improve performance as well.

Yes, that means upgrading to Windows 10 the long way:

  1. Reserve your upgrade
  2. Backup all your data and document and any important settings
  3. Download the relevant ISOs (use Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool)
  4. Prepare your installation media (Create a bootable USB drive)
  5. Run the upgrade from your current device FIRST – this helps save the Windows 10 licence key for your system/motherboard with Microsoft for activation
  6. Finally, boot your USB and install a clean copy of Windows 10

Then, MindManager should install correctly from the standard install

Voila and happiness

It seems in some instances with early upgrades of Windows 10 that the upgrade process corrupted some of the programming frameworks and re-distributables installed (like Microsoft Visual C++), which you cannot fix. 

Running:

sfc /scannow
from a command prompt (as Administrator) 
does sometimes fix some of these issues as well.