Hello there and welcome to our weekly feature titled top articles of the
Especially chosen for you, these articles will help you to keep up to date
with current trends plus a lot more.
Rita’s i device for May 01
what to do with a full phone
if your phone has run out of space and you cannot download new apps or for a
new phone, what should you look for when asking about storage space? if you
already store all your
photos in the cloud, but you still have no room left.
even if you upload photos to a connected cloud service (and do not keep
copies locally on the phone), other content like apps, games, videos, music,
podcasts, e-books and
other files can eat up gigabytes. the phone’s operating system also takes a
bite out of the device’s advertised capacity, especially on those older 8-
or 16-gigabyte models.
when shopping for a new phone, getting a model with more storage than you
think you need gives you room to grow, so plan for at least double the
capacity of your current
if you need to squeeze out a few more months with your current phone,
deleting unnecessary apps and content gives you room to move. check your
phone’s settings area for a list
of apps and their sizes. the support sites for apple’s ios software has
information on managing your storage. once you see which apps are hogging
the most space, you can
delete things you no longer need, like e-books you have finished, podcasts
you have played and games you never play. deleting old mail and text
messages (especially those with
photo attachments) and dumping stored ‘reading lists’ from your phone’s
browser or news app also replenish some storage capacity. (you should be
able to download deleted apps
and purchased content again if needed.) if space is still really tight —
and increasing internal storage is not an option on your current model — an
external storage device
can provide breathing room. several companies offer drives with various
storage capacities and prices. clipping an external storage drive to your
phone can make it more
unwieldy for everyday use, but the additional room for content can make long
trips more entertaining. for example, leef makes mobile memory drives for
android and ios devices,
as does sandisk. picture keeper’s flash drives for mobile devices promise to
back up photos, videos and contacts. if you are getting close to upgrading
your phone, though, you
may want to factor the price and the amount of extra storage space needed
immediately against the length of time until you go phone shopping.
How to hang on to Windows 7 for the long run
Note from dan: I usually copy links into documents. However, when
attempting this for this document, the webpage kept having a “long running
script” that hung me up a few times. So I am including the main source
I did visit several of the links with success.
I am also going to try these suggestions.
If Windows 7 represents peak Windows for you, you’re not alone. Twice as
many people use Win7 as use Win10, even after 18 months of Microsoft
pressure to get you to give up Win7 and jump to the shiny new version as
operating system of choice.
Your reasons for staying with Win7 may range from mere convenience to
mental inertia to an abject fear of the Win10 info borg. Whatever your
reasons for remaining with Win7, there are steps you can take right now to
Win7 keeps working — at least until Microsoft pulls the plug on security
patches, on Jan. 14, 2020. (Yep, that’s a Patch Tuesday.)
[ The essentials for Windows 10 installation: Download the Windows 10
Installation Superguide today. | Stay up on key Microsoft technologies with
the Windows Report newsletter . ]
The key, as you might expect, is to stow away a solid “ground zero” full
backup. From that point, you should patch judiciously, use incremental
backups scrupulously, and tend to the maintenance jobs that you’ve no doubt
neglected. If you go about it in an organized manner, your machine should
last forever … or at least until you throw it in the trash and buy a new
Step 1. Pick a patching method
Before you back up your machine, make sure it’s in top shape.
If you’re concerned about Microsoft’s “telemetry,” the fact is that you
agreed to a certain level of snooping when you consented to the license
agreement for Windows 7:
Microsoft may use the computer information, accelerator information, search
suggestions information, error reports, and Malware reports to improve our
software and services. We may also share it with others, such as
hardware and software vendors. They may use the information to improve how
their products run with Microsoft software.
The method for bringing your Win7 up to speed and keeping it going for the
duration depends on how much information you’re willing to share with
Microsoft about your system, software, and activities. Starting in October
2016, Microsoft changed the way it distributes patches to accommodate
individuals and organizations that only want security updates, and not other
patches that may affect how much information is collected and sent to
Microsoft. That gave rise to two patching strategies and a “no patch for
me, please” option.
I detail the three main patching choices in ” How to prepare for the
Windows 7/8.1 ‘patchocalypse.’ ”
Long story short, Win7 patches align with three major groups:
Group A: Those who are willing to take all of Microsoft’s new telemetry
systems, along with potentially useful nonsecurity updates.
Group B: Those who don’t want any more snooping than necessary and don’t
care about improvements like daylight saving time zone changes, but do want
to keep applying security patches.
Group W: Those stalwarts who will take their chances and don’t want to
install any new patches, whether they fix security holes or not.
Group A (apply all of the offered patches) or Group W (don’t ever patch) are
the easiest to join, but Group W is vulnerable to all sorts of problems. I
don’t recommend Group W. Group A can use Windows Update to get
everything they need. It’s harder to join Group B, because it requires
manual download and installation of patches.
It’s helpful to figure out whether you want to be in Group A or Group B (or
Group W) before getting going.
Step 2. Optionally reinstall Win7 from scratch
Right off the bat, you need to make sure your Win7 system is fit to fly.
There’s no sense preserving a baseline system in stone (or at least in
backup) until the baseline is working right.
For many of you, Windows 7 works fine the way it is. If that describes your
situation, skip to Step 3.
For the rest of you, a fresh install of Windows 7 is vital to preserving a
fully functional Win7. The best approach I know was published on
AskWoody.com , based on a procedure developed by Canadian Tech. There are
significant sticking points:
Obtaining “genuine” Windows 7 Service Pack 1 installation files can be
Once you have Win7 SP1, which updates should you install?
Obtaining the real ISOs is a significant concern because there are many
pirate copies of Win7 floating around the internet. Until May 2014, you
could download the retail bits from an Microsoft distributor known as
In an InfoWorld column, I talked about the way that source disappeared.
Microsoft has this official download site , but it works only if you feed
it a valid product key — and there’s the rub. Microsoft defines the
product key thusly :
From an authorized retailer. The product key should be on a label or card
inside the box that Windows came in.
A new PC running Windows. The product key will be preinstalled on your PC,
included with the packaging the PC came in, or included on the Certificate
of Authenticity (COA) attached to the PC.
But I’ve heard from many people that the keys they’ve retrieved (typically
from ProduKey or Belarc Advisor) don’t work, even keys from a 100% genuine
Win7 installation. I’ve also heard that retail keys — the ones inside a
that you bought with Win7 inside — work in all cases.
I asked Microsoft how people with demonstrably genuine copies of Win7 can
get fresh new Windows 7 SP1 installation files. The response:
For customers who do not have a product key, they will need to contact
Microsoft Customer Support Service , where we have alternative options for
acquiring the Windows 7 product when they have lost their media.
If you have trouble locating a clean copy of Win7 SP1, check out ” The
safest way to get a new copy of the Windows 7 bits .”
A clean install isn’t for the faint of heart. No matter how hard you try,
you will lose data, somehow, somewhere — it always happens, even to us
masochists who have been running clean Windows installs for decades.
Start with a full set of program installation CDs, DVDs, or a list of
locations where you can download what you’ll need. Make sure you have all
the keys. Stick all your passwords in a repository like LastPass or
should send your data, and settings wherever possible, off to DVDs or an
external or network drive using a product like Windows Easy Transfer (see
Lance Whitney’s how-to on the TechNet site ).
Then, armed with a good copy of Win7 SP1, you’re ready to follow Canadian
Tech’s steps to install a clean copy of Win7.
Note: I don’t recommend installing the so-called Convenience Update, KB
3125574 , which was created to roll up many outstanding patches. Although
the Service Pack 2-like update may save you some time, in my experience if
you follow Canadian Tech’s advice, the speedup is minimal. The all-star
team of Abbodii, PointZero, and Komm has documented the shortcomings of
the Convenience Update, and they shouldn’t be overlooked.
Step 3. Bring Windows up to speed
If you didn’t install a fresh copy of Windows 7 from scratch, you may have
trouble with Windows Update taking forever. Start by following the two
simple steps to eliminate unconscionably slow Windows 7 Update scans. Then
selectively apply patches you need to get caught up.
Starting in October (the “patchocalypse”), Windows 7 patches began
arriving in two clumps: Security-only patches (for Group B), which you have
to download and install manually; and Monthly Rollups (for Group A), which
include nonsecurity patches and are available through Windows Update.
Choose Group A or Group B, and bring your machine’s Windows up to date .
Yes, if you’re in Group W, you can skip this step.
When all seems correct, make one more run of Windows Update to make sure
you have the latest patches for Office, .Net, and anything else that may
need updating — including non-Microsoft products.
Step 4. Take control
“Control” means different things to different people, but at a minimum I
suggest you make these changes to Win7 before backing it up:
Take control of your Windows update strategy.
Turn off Automatic Updates. Click Start > Control Panel > System and
Security. Under Windows Update, click the “Turn automatic updating on or
off” link. In the Important Updates box, choose “Never check for updates
recommended).” Uncheck the box marked “Give me recommended updates the same
way I receive important updates” and click OK.
Turn off automatic Windows updates
Turn off the Customer Experience Improvement Program. Click Start. In the
Search programs and files box type customer, then click on Change Customer
Experience Improvement Program settings. Click “No, I don’t want to
participate in the program,” then Save Changes.
Disable Win7 tasks you don’t want
Disable Tasks you don’t want. Go into the Task Scheduler by clicking Start
and, in the Search program and files box type task. Click on Task
Scheduler. You can find many recommendations on the web about which tasks
but the best advice I’ve found comes from AskWoody’s ch100, who recommends
disabling the Application Experience agent (AitAgent), Microsoft
Compatibility Appraiser, and ProgramDataUpdaters, all three of which appear
the \Microsoft\Windows\Application Experience folder (screenshot). There
are also scheduled tasks related to the Customer Experience Improvement
Program (CEIP) that may or may not be disabled when you opt out of CEIP.
If you’re very cautious, see this post from JY on AskWoody.
Update your browser. If you insist on using Internet Explorer, make sure you
have IE11 installed . If you aren’t locked into IE, try Google Chrome or
Jettison the junk. You’re going to create a top-quality copy of your hard
drive. Why burden it with junkware? With its newly found 64-bit
capabilities, I like the free version of Revo Uninstaller .
Note: Those with detailed knowledge may want to dive deeper into hardening
their systems. We have ongoing discussions — and knock-down debates —
about the details on AskWoody.com . MVP Noel Carboni specializes in
keeping Win7 systems locked down.
Step 5. Clean up your drive
One last step before you freeze your system like Han Solo. Run a disk
Win7 disk cleanup
While there are many utilities that will help you zero in on duplicated
files and ferret out grunge sitting in odd corners, Windows’ built-in Disk
Cleanup will take a big swipe at the detritus. It has the added advantages
both free and easy to use.
To do so, click Start > Computer. Right-click your main drive and choose
Properties (screenshot). Click Disk Cleanup. In the resulting Disk Cleanup
dialog box, click “Clean up system files.” Follow the instructions and
When you’re done, if you have a spinning hard drive (as opposed to a
solid-state drive), run a defrag: Click Start and in the box marked Search
program and files box type defrag. Chose Disk defragmenter and click on the
to Defragment disk.
Step 6. Back up — now and forever
You’re finally at the point where a full disk image backup makes sense. Yes,
you should back up your data, too, as part of the system image. I recommend
making a single backup at this point — when your system’s working great –
– and squirrel it away. Augment that with your usual backup regimen, if you
Find your Win7 product key with ProduKey
Before you start the backup, make sure you have your system usernames and
passwords written down, for every user on the system. You’ll also sleep
better if you write down your Windows activation ID. If you can’t find an
activation ID on a sticker attached to your PC, run NirSoft’s ProduKey
Windows 7 files, but it should be a good starting point for arguing with
Win7 activation phone support, if you can’t get a restored image of Win7
activated. Yes, it happens.
To get serious about creating and maintaining backups, install and run a
dedicated backup/restore package. Two of the best: Macrium Reflect ( free
for personal use ; $70 or less per PC for businesses ) and Acronis True
(free 30-day trial, then $50). Follow the installation instructions, create
a full disk image on an external drive or networked drive (or on DVDs, if
you must), then disconnect the drive and store it someplace safe. Make sure
store a system repair disk along with the main backup.
After you’ve gone through the first round, set up Macrium Reflect or
Acronis to generate a second full disk image, followed by incremental
Win7 backup and restore
If you really want to use the Win7 backup routines — they are free and work
reasonably well — buy an external hard drive and plug it in. Click Start >
Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore. You see the “Back
or restore your files” dialog (screenshot).
On the left, click “Create system image.” You may create the system image
on a hard drive, DVDs, or a network location. To go out to the network and
look for a suitable location, assuming you have one, click Select.
Create a Win7 system image
From the Create a system image dialog
you can put your system backup on any accessible drive attached to your
Once you’ve create a full system image you can tuck away, tell Windows
Backup that you want to keep incremental backups. Back on the “Back up or
restore your files” dialog, click “Set up backup,” follow the directions to
choose a backup drive, select which data should be backed up, and when the
backups should run (daily or monthly incremental backups). Depending on the
size and speed of your drives, the first backup can take hours.