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Details of Technology Tips published in and other useful hints

April 2016

An update on Superfast Broadband which is now available in most of the Sturminster Newton area.

Some people enquiring at the centre have been under the impression that their line will be automatically upgraded, however the upgrade only happens when you order it from your supplier and it usually involves a new hub. Typically it adds about £5 a month to charges but if you have not changed your contract in 2-3 years or more you may find that a new contract with Superfast costs no more than you are paying for ordinary broadband.

What speeds to expect: With ordinary broadband it was the distance from your house to the actual telephone exchange that mattered, most of Sturminster gets around 10 Mbits/sec, but in parts of villages as low as 1-2 Mbits/sec. Superfast in the UK is Fibre to Cabinet (FTC) and not Fibre to premises (FTP) – so with Superfast it’s how far from one of those dark green cabinets in the street that your speed depends on. Most suppliers offer a choice of 38 or 76 Mbit/sec speeds, if you are within half a mile of your cabinet you will get close to that speed, it will tail off with greater distance -see graph here.

Speeds above 10Mbits/sec are only really necessary for really heavy downloads (films, iplayer etc), uploads (cloud storage, maintaining a web site), live TV, on-line gaming but probably much more in future.

March 2016

SAVING PRINTER INK:  Some fonts use significant less ink (or toner) than others. Compared to the most common TimesNewRoman or Ariel, the font Garamond used 28% less ink.

The stationers Ryman offer a free font saving 33% on the most common fonts. Search “ryman eco font”, go to the site and look for the download button in the top right corner of the page.

February 2016

SYSTEM RESTORE:  Should you download or install something that upsets your system, Windows has a Restore function that can restore all the system files to how they were on particular date (i.e. before the something that went wrong) – your personal files are not reverted.

This is not always switched on in Windows 10 because it needs significant disc space which some Windows phones and tablets do not have (but most laptops and desktops do have).

Once switched on, should something go wrong you can restore yourself or make it much easier for the Learning Centre or a professional to get your computer back to normal.

Full details are in this PDF document.

See also May 2016 article for backing up your personal files.

May 2016


For most people the concept of Back-up is of a job you do once every so often (usually not often enough!) and that job involves making a copy of all your files at once.

In Windows 10 the concept of File History is introduced. As long as your back-up device is plugged in the system automatically backs-up new and changed files as frequently as every 10 minutes. Further it keeps all versions of a file so that you can recover any earlier version (hence file history).

Full details of how to switch on and manage File History are in this PDF document.

Be aware that for the moment Microsoft confusingly use both terms BACKUP and FILE HISTORY in menus.

See also the February 2016 article for ability to recover SYSTEM (as opposed to personal) files.

May 2017

Cloud Storage:  Click the icon to read the full document on using cloud storage

1. Use cloud storage to access your files (most often pictures) from any computer whenever there is an Internet connection.

a. Access your files from your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone

b. Access your files from any computer anywhere by logging into your cloud account

c. Set up an account to share files with family, friends or an organisation

2. Use Cloud Storage to back-up your files where they can never be lost

a. Back-up your most precious files with free cloud allowances and limited broadband speed

b. Back-up everything with paid for cloud and fast broadband

July 2016

All about Passwords:

Which passwords are most important. How to choose strong passwords AND REMEMBER THEM!  Please see this document for full details.

August 2016

Expect a major upgrade (looks like and is a complete new installation) of Windows 10 during August/September - “The Anniversary Edition”  effectively Windows 10.1. The only visible change is to the Start menu (all apps now shown automatically) but a lot of bugs are fixed and there are major upgrades to Cortarna, Ink and other features.

Review of features HERE (opens external PC magazine page).

September 2015

Virtual Reality now in Sturminster

Click for More Details

June 2017  Windows 10 Creator Edition

Microsoft started rolling out the “Creator” edition of Windows 10 in April. It is effectively Windows 10.2 and is a major re-install of Windows typically taking 90 minutes.

Most users will not notice any difference to the look and feel, it is mostly about incorporating 3D, and virtual/augmented reality support within Windows. There is a more logical arrangement to Settings and the Edge browser has two new icons (top left) to manage tabs / web pages.

Click here to go to Microsoft site for more details.