Top 10 Windows 10 Tips

Windows 10 is Microsoft’s latest version of their newly remodeled Operating System. Windows is moving towards a more universal layout. They are intending to allow you to run the same operating system across your Tablets/Laptops/Desktops and even phones with seamless transition between them. Windows 10 provides the structure on which Microsoft’s vision can be built

Microsoft have managed to take the best features from Windows 8.1, while retaining the standard and easy to use layout of Windows 7.

This isn’t to say that Windows 10 won’t have its own learning curve, so here are 10 tips for Windows 10 to help ease your transition!


1. Start Menu

The start menu is back! Windows 8/8.1 users will know all about the struggle as Microsoft removed the start menu. But now it has made its comeback in a new format as tiles and icons live in harmony. Microsoft has combined the functionality of the Windows 8.1 tiles with the easy to use format of the start menu. If you are coming directly from Windows 7, you may find these new changes a bit daunting at first, but you will pick it up soon!

“Most Used” displays all your most used application. By right clicking on these icons you can do options such as “Pin to Start”, “Pin to Taskbar” and to completely remove it from the list with “Don’t show in this list”.

“All Programs” has essentially been replaced by the new “All Apps” icon. This new icon allows you to browse through all your applications with ease.

By Clicking on one of the Letters in the All App menu it will display a nice section showing the Alphabet to find applications more easily.



2. Customizing the Start Menu

While Microsoft have pushed forward the hybrid mix of the Classic start menu and the Metro UI, they have left the flexibility to customize the start menu how you want it. By default Microsoft clogs your Start menu with their built-in “Bloatware.

Luckily, it’s easy to rearrange the start menu to how you like it! Right clicking on one of these “Tiles” opens up a variety of options. You can Unpin it from the start menu, resize it or pin it to the Task Bar.

You should also be aware of the “Live Tile” feature that many Applications have now. For example the Weather Tile now shows the weather straight in your Start Menu!

 “Weather with live tile off.”

“Weather with live tile on.”

You are also able to drag and drop the Tiles around any way you would like! If you prefer a lower profile Start Menu, you can resize the entire menu by dragging from either the top or the side of the Menu. If you remove all the Tiles you can reduce the Start menu to a nice slick low profile mode.

3. Search Bar

The search has had some upgrades to its previous iterations. While we sadly don’t have Microsoft’s new Voice Controlled assistant “Cortana” available in Australia yet, the search bar is still a very powerful tool.

You can now directly perform web searches right from the search bar! But if you aren’t a fan of the search bar being in the taskbar no problems! Just right click the taskbar, go to search and select hidden. This will hide the search bar, but its still accessible by typing straight into the start menu.

Rather than relying on the automatic “Best Match” function, you can directly choose whether to search locally on your computer by clicking;                                                      (“My Stuff”) or through the web (“Web”).

4. Edge

Microsoft is moving forward by releasing their brand new powerful browser “Edge”. While Internet Explorer has been swept under the rug, Edge has taken up the mantle as Microsoft’s star browser. Its speedy, looks slick and it has some cool new features. Since it’s still just an early release expect a few bugs here and there, but overall it’s a pretty great design so I would recommend giving it a shot! Edge comes Pre-Installed with all Windows 10 systems.


5. Personalization

Windows 10 has made a few adjustments on how you can personalize your computer, so here’s a run down on some of the new Personalization Settings!

The settings can be accessed just by Right clicking on your Desktop and clicking “Personalize”

From here you’re taken to the Background section of the Personalization window. You can select the Background type and Browse for Images to use here.

On the left you will see the different Sections available. By going to “Colours” you will be able to control the Accented colour of windows, such as the Task Bar and Start Menu. It will show you a sample image of what the new Colour will display as when selecting the different colours.

The Lock screen section allows you to control the Lock screen picture you see when logging in to Windows.

The Themes section takes you to the Theme Settings where you can control which display theme you can use.

And lastly the Start Section which contains a few options on controlling the Start menu such as “Show most used apps”. An interesting setting is “Use Start Full Screen” which implements a Start Screen more closely related to the Windows 8 Metro UI (For the dozens of people around the world who will actually use this.).

6. Snap

While the Snap feature has been implemented since Windows 7, it has received an update to give you more control over your open Programs. By holding a window at either side of the screen you will see a transparent screen where the window will snap to. Let go of it and it will snap in place! If you have other windows open when you try to Snap, Windows will ask you which other Window you want to will the rest of the screen. If you don’t want to do this, simply click on the active window you just Snapped.

If you snap the Window to the top of the screen it Snap the window to the entire display.

You can do a similar effect for snapping windows to corners, you can drag any program into a corner and it will Snap to that quarter of the screen. A very useful tool for multitasking!

7. Virtual Desktops

One of the cooler Features in Windows 10. You can now create Virtual desktops where you can have individual applications open on each of these new Desktops. This allows for better multitasking capabilities, more specifically for those who are only using a single Monitor.

You can access this feature by hitting (Windows Key + Tab) Or clicking the “Task View” Button just to the right of the search bar/icon. This opens up the new Full display feature where you can see all your open applications as well as control and switch to your extra desktops at the bottom of the screen.

Some other Shortcuts extremely useful with this feature are;

(Windows Key + Ctrl + Left/Right) To move left and right between Desktops.

(Windows Key + Crtk + D) To Create a new Desktop

(Windows Key + Ctrl + F4) To Close the current Desktop

8. The Action Centre

Another useful feature is the Action Centre. The icon for this can be found in the Bottom right of your screen here;

Clicking on this Icon will open up the full sized Action Centre

The Action Centre has a few settings down the bottom that you may find useful, but its primary function is the Notification Section. This Notification Section will display any notification you receive such as Emails. It’s a handy tool that you may find very useful if properly utilized. A more in depth guide to the Action center will be coming soon!

9. The Store

Windows introduced the Windows Store in version 8, and it has come a long way since then. The Windows Store is an interesting idea. It contains a lot of useful Applications such as Netflix, Facebook, eBay etc. But it also contains Games, Music and Movies/TV. Windows 10 has moved more towards a Tablet friendly format and the Store is a clear indicator of that, providing a source of Applications for the new wave of Microsoft Laptops/Tablets and Phones.


10. Assorted Features and Tips

Here are some of my favorite Tips of Windows 10 that didn’t make it into a section of their own but deserve a shout-out!

-(Windows + G) Opens Microsoft’s Gaming menu with integration to xBox. Allows you to Record your screen, take screenshots and connect to your xBox. It also contains background recording, so if enabled and you press a certain shortcut, it will save the last 30 seconds of your screen in a video.

-If you aren’t a fan of the Web Search feature in the Start menu, it can be disable by searching for “Cortana and Search Settings” then disable the “Search Online and Include Web Results” Option.

-If you are using windows 10 on a Laptop with a Touchpad, here are some new Multi-Touch Gestures you may find helpful;


-Some useful Shortcuts for Snapping the current active windows;

(Windows Key + Left) — snap active window to the left.

(Windows Key + Right) — snap active window to the right.

(Windows Key + Up) — snap the active window to the top.

(Windows Key + Down) — snap the active window to the bottom.

Being Diligent When Receiving Emails

Over the last few months, I have heard of a few cases where scammers have attempted and in some case been able to scam people, via numerous new and elaborate methods, of thousands of dollars…

In one case emails were sent to a Financial Controller of a company and the company’s Bank manager, requesting for a transfer of funds to a Nigerian business, emails were sent from the business owner. Some concerns were that the scammers where able regenerate the email signatures of each person the email was being sent from, but what is scary is that the scammers knew details  of the business owner, the financial controller and more importantly the bank manager. If not for the diligence of the bank manager making a phone call to confirm the transaction, the business owner would have been out of pocket of thousands of dollars.

Another recent case, where a Tradie’s bank account mobile number and password were being changed by contacting the bank. Scammers had contacted the bank with enough information  to be able to change the mobile number association with the account, but  thankfully not the password. Once the Tradie was eventually contacted  by the Bank informing that his passwords where being changed, the bank immediately cancelled the accounts and was issued with a new account and credit card. A few weeks later, another attempt by the scammers to change details on the new Accounts. Although they could not make the changes, apparanelty a few thousand dollars was actually transferred from the Credit Card that was supposed to have been cancelled by the bank. The concern in this case is how the information was gathered by the scammers not once by twice is a mystery since the Tradie didn’t transmit any of the new account details electronically. Recently police contact the Tradie informing him that they had found a notebook, which was dropped outside a block of units out west, with all his and other victims personal and banking details. The details included information about the new account which was only a few months old…

A more recent scam, which unfortunately allowed the scammers to actually get away with thousands of dollars. In this situation the scammers knew the business owners and the financial controllers details. A simple 2 line email was sent addressed from the owner to the financial controller, asking the financial controller if they were able to make a wire transfer for them. The irony is this process was common for this business owner and the financial controller as the owner didn’t have direct access to perform bank transfers, so he would email the financial controller with these requests.

The financial controller simply replied to the received email asking where and how much to transfer and which account from, the scammers simply replied back with international bank account details. Within a few minutes the money was transferred, that simple.

Looking over the received emails, one could understand how in our busy lives that the financial controller could have believed it was from the owner. But there are some tell tale signs from the first email received:



I need you to take care of a financial obligation for me.

Let me know if you can process a wire transfer today?

Please get back to me as soon as possible.

Thanks, John

Sent from my iPhone

  • The language/grammar used is not normal for this business owner.
  • The email signature was stating Sent from my iPhone , although he has an iPhone his signature doesn’t normally state this.
  • We don’t normally use Wire Transfer in Australia…
  • When you reply, the reply address would  be incorrect even if the name is correct.


These are just 3 incidents that I have been aware of recently and as you can see if our guards are down it is very simple to be scammed.

So what can we do to avoid these sorts of incidents:

  1. Look at your payment processing procedures and don’t simply rely on emails for authorization of payment. Be mindful that someone can easily send you an invoice to be paid, the invoice could have enough information to pass as legitimate.
  2. Don’t get complacent when processing or authorizing payments, scrutinize emails/invoices. If the email/invoice doesn’t make sense or even if one word doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t a legitimate email.
  3. Try forwarding an email back to the sender instead of Reply to…or simply check the reply address after you click reply. Sending an email with a different reply to address is very simply do.
  4. Use alternate authorization processes like SMS or a simple phone call
 If there is one point I can re-iterate when dealing with emails
“Don’t get complacent”

Why Is Disaster Recovery So Difficult?

In the past 10 years many businesses have switched from tape-based backup systems to diskbased backup. Tape systems tend to be difficult to manage and much slower than disk-based systems not only for creating backup, but for restoring them as well. In addition, the cost of disk-based storage continues to drop every year. It’s now extremely affordable to purchase multi-TB disks, so disk space is much less of an issue than it used to be.

Even businesses that are required to have tape backup for compliancy and archival purposes have moved to hybrid systems because of the time factor involved in recovery. The fastest tape backup cannot compete with the slowest disk-based system for recovery times. When you need rapid disaster recovery, when your RTO is hours, not days, you must have disk-based disaster recovery.

The problem is that disks, while becoming more affordable, have not become any more reliable. Most industry estimates place the average disk lifespan around five years. The truth is that hard disk drives fail. So wise administrators prepare for that eventuality and anticipate how they will recover when that drive failure occurs. When, not if.

Another issue is that even with the increased recovery speeds that disk-based storage offers, restoring a server is still a time-consuming process. Traditionally, when a disk drive fails, IT administrators must repair the server, if possible, re-install the operating system, re-install applications, and then add data file backups, if they are available. This process of rebuilding a server can take days – time your business can ill-afford to lose.

In addition, migrating to a new server is an equally painful process, requiring weeks of planning and days to execute – if all goes well. As a result of these limitations, many SMBs choose to avoid the issue altogether, deciding that a server disaster recovery plan is too painful a process to contemplate. Or they continue with a backup solution that is too complicated or does not meet the needs of a growing business. Day-to-day server problems are ignored or placed on the backburner. This is not a safe and secure way to assure business continuity or data availability.

If disaster recovery is too complicated or painful to contemplate contact The Vault Corporation team, to remove the pain before, not if, a disaster hits…

Why Businesses Should Move Data Backups To The Cloud

Early this year ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald and then a monsoonal trough passed over north-eastern Australia (Queensland and Northern NSW) causing massive damage to thousands of homes, businesses, roads, bridges and other essential infrastructure. Several people died in the tragic floods that resulted. Many homes and businesses were without power, water and sewage support for weeks after the emergency.

While we shouldn’t forget the huge affect these storms have had on peoples’ lives, we should also take the opportunity to look at the impacts on businesses and the lessons that can be learnt. The most important lesson is the importance of disaster recovery plans for businesses.

An important aspect of any disaster recovery plan should be to use cloud computing to keep key business information and applications off-site in secure locations where they are safe from natural disasters such as floods, fire or human error.

Businesses affected by the floods that that did not back up their key business information lost their data under the floodwaters or through water damage and they may never recover. Businesses that relied on on-site devices as their only backup will have experienced significant business delays trying to restore their backup tapes, disks and hard drives.

Earlier this year an American company released the results of their cloud storage adoption survey  suggesting that eighty per cent of cloud storage users claimed that they could recover their data in less than 24 hours (with nearly a quarter estimating an instantaneous recovery). Alternatively, nearly one in six respondents that were not using cloud storage estimated that it would take more than a week to recover their data after a disaster. This is a significant difference.

Business information managers considering ways to maintain operations during (or after) major disasters or disruptions must now consider cloud-based solutions as a necessary component. Cloud technology is now affordable for all businesses. Because the cloud makes information and applications accessible through the Internet it makes it possible to maintain a business even during disasters.

The important lesson is that, as part of your disaster recovery plan, cloud backup is now the best business protection method available to reduce the risk of data and information loss during disasters. For more information about cloud backup contact The Vault Corporation.

Configure ImageManager To Replicate To The Remote Vault – via Internet

The following are instructions on how to configure ImageManager to replicate to The Remote Vault via your Internet Connection.

Replicating base backup images to the Seeding Drive:

  1. Add the backup folder to Mange and replicate to ImageManager – Start Managing Folder…
  2. Then check your Retention settings… (Note Version 6 allows for Global settings under Agent Settings…). These settings are strictly for The Local Vault (image repository) and don;t affect The Remote Vault settings.
  3. Plugged in the seeding drive sent to you and create a new folder called ShadowProtect.
  4. Under Replication Targets we need to add the first target to the Seeding Drive, So click on Add new replication target…
  5. Select Type: Local Drive
  6. Select Location: <Add new location…> to add the Seeding drive with the Name called ExternalSeedingDrive and the Path to DriveLetter:\ShadowProtect, then click save.
  7.  Update Subdirectory: or leave the default entry (note some options below are only available on version 6 IM).
  8. Click on the Replication ModeTab and select the settings as per below:
  9. Once you click Save replication to the Seeding drive will begin. Once the base images have completed, you can delete this replication target and send the drive back to The Vault Corporation as per your instruction’s.

Replicating incremental images to The Remote Vault:

Using the details emailed to you follow the instructions below to configure ImageManager iFTP replication settings:

  1. Again select Add new replication target…
  2. Select Type: intelligentFTP
  3. Select Location: <Add new location…>
  4. Then click save and enter the Subdirectory: or leave the default entry.
  5. Select Don’t replicate Base image files
  6. On version 6 of IM select Start replicating incremental backup images immediately
  7. Click on the Replication Mode TAB and select the option as per below:
  8. Finally save the target.
  9. On Versions prior to version 6, please pause the replication until your base images have been uploaded to The Remote Vault.
  10. On Version 6 of IM, your incremental backup images will start replicating.


Do You Sleep Well At Night?

Recently I demonstrated our Recovery solution to an Insurance Broker who had just upgraded their Tape Backup system.

My question to them was

“When was the last time you tested your backups to see if you can recover your system and data?”

 His answer:

“I worry so much about the backups that I don’t get any sleep at nights!”

 That was until he saw how quickly I recovered their server into my laptop in a Virtualised environment.

Who do you know who doesn’t sleep at nights worrying about their systems and data?


Configuring Shadow Protect Optimising For The Remote Vault

The Remote Vault has automated functionality to verify backup images are received at the very least every 3 hours. If no images are received for any volume, then a red flag is triggered alerting support of a possible issue.

So to elimanate fals positives the following is the recommedend backup schedule for any given server/workstation that is replicated to The Remote Vault:

  • Mon-Fri 5.03am till 9pm at the most every 3hrs.


Although, every 30mins for 24hours 7 days a week is most ideal, the above schedule allows you to schedule other maitenance routines outside of the Shadow Protect backups, eg SQL Backups and maintenance plans, Windows defrags, etc.

(Fileservers data drive could be done every 15mins to accomodate user’s accidentally deleting files or overwriting).

Also, schedule backup jobs from different volumes and servers so that they don’t all run at the same time, and always start jobs a few minutes after the hour. Most windows and application tasks usualy start on the hour or half hour.

Also note that, where possible The Vault Corporation will endevour to schedule our maintenance after 6pm on Saturday and/or Sunday.


Configuring Servers For Incremental Image Based Backups

When you start using incremental image based backups like Shadow Protect, it is best to make some changes on your Servers to get the most out of your Image Repositry, especially expensive remote storage.

Install an additional disk or create an additional partition to relocate the following applicaitons/settings from your OS and Data drives:

  • Virus Protection
  • Install or Downloaded programs
  • WSUS source downloads
  • Page File
  • Temp Folders

Reconfigure the following applications to reduce the size and growth of log files:

  • IIS and SBS Logs
  • Exchange Logs
  • SQL Logs
  • Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)
  • SharePoint Database Log files.
  • Set Certificate Service Logging options, also run a log clean up weekly or monthly –  Click here to download the script

Read more at:

Recovering Disk Space on the C: Drive in Small Business Server 2008

How to Change the Event Logging Level for Certificate Services



6 Things To Get Right In Your Online Backup System

Are you considering setting up an online backup system for your business? With the rapid evolution of cloud computing it is now much more efficient to do your backups on line.

Online backup is now becoming the best value solution, with easy to use backup software and much cheaper storage costs. The new backup software also provides the added advantages of providing much faster data recovery with much less data loss because the backup is running continuously.

We all know that there are lots of risks from storing your backups at your office or business premises. No one should risk having their backup in the same place as the source data.  The usual practice is to take a daily backup to a different location. This system works but if you lose your data (from human error, natural disasters, or cyber-attacks) you will have lost a day’s worth of work or transaction records.

If you are thinking about online backup here are six things that The Vault Corporation recommends you get the following things right:

1. The Right Capacity and Grade Hard Drive

Make sure your hard drive is well maintained and has the right capacity and grade for it’s use for your needs. Storage capacity is becoming cheaper so there is no reason not to upgrade.

2. The Right Backup Software

Install backup software that is safe, secure and easy to use to run your backup process. After considerable research and trials we currently recommend ShadowProtect.

3. A Recovery Environment

Have a recovery environment in place to host the backup. If your primary environment is damaged, lost or compromised you will need separate hardware and software to run the backup.

4. Get Regular Status Reports

Make sure you get regular status reports on the backup process. You should regularly check that there are no problems or gaps in the backup process.

5. Quality Technical Support

Make sure you are getting the right technical support so that you have a trouble-free and quality backup process in place. Good technical support soon pays for itself.

6. Good Management Support

Taking shortcuts in setting up your system can result in a failed process. Make sure you are getting the right advice about managing your data and information backup processes from IT professionals that specialise in online backup technology.

For more information about online backup software and systems contact us.

When Did You Last Check Your Backups?

Success BackupsAre you sure that your backup system is working effectively to protect your business from disaster?

How many people do you know who thought they had an effective backup system in place and when their system crashed they found that they had lost important information?

Sadly I know quite a few people who have lost a lot of information.

Recently a new client lost his whole system after plugging an external drive from his customer into his system. Thankfully we had already started backing his system and were able to fully restore his system (remomtely) within a couple hours with no loss of data.

There are six common reasons why backups fail.

1. Overly-complex backup solutions

One of the major challenges for IT professionals is making sure that the whole set of business applications they use can interface with each other. If your organisation is using a mix of non-standardised products from different providers there is a strong likelihood that the software integration put in place to make the packages “talk” to each other may not work. If the packages can’t talk to each other the backups may not be working or may be incomplete. Some figures suggest that only about 20% of backups fully succeed.

2. Partial backups lose important information

One of the common backup problems is that some organisations only back up part of their dataset. One published survey of businesses found that 31 percent don’t back up email, 21 percent don’t back up application data, and 17 percent don’t back up customer data (including invoices, amounts owing, contacts, etc.). Some large organisations only back up their network files and not their local files assuming that employees only use the network.

3. Remote locations have forgotten backups

Some organisations with multiple or regional offices have good infrastructure and data management in their head office (often where the IT department are based) but often overlook the backup and data management of remote offices or of field staff. Your IT staff may not be overseeing the data management processes at remote or regional sites as closely as they oversee your corporate office even though the data may be subject to the same compliance regulations.

4. Low frequency backups increases data loss risk

Most companies do a daily backup although there are others still doing weekly backups. If you have a lot of people working on a project there is a risk that if your backup frequency is too low, weeks of accumulated work could be lost only a few hours out from a deadline. Historic information can be archived and will not change very much over time but current project work is being updated in real time in response to demands on your business.

5. Memory device failures

Backup data and information are commonly stored using tape and disk storage devices. Tape and disk storage solutions rely on high quality media. However, if the media is not maintained, not stored properly and not replaced before the end of its effective life there is a strong risk that it will fail at a critical time.

6. Poor software backup processes

It is important to have strong IT management practices in place, for instance, to store information and data in the correct software version compatible with your current operating system. If a legacy system crashes there is a risk that the software environment cannot be recreated and the data is unrecoverable. Your backup processes need to be changed to match changes to the system infrastructure.

For more information about safe, secure and reliable backup software and systems contact us.