Category: Windows 8

How to change Windows 10’s default web browser

When you upgrade to Windows 10 from another version of Windows the ‘express installation’ option sets your default web browser to Microsoft’s Edge, even if you chose to use Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or another web browser, in Windows 7 or 8.

And Microsoft’s Edge has a nasty habit of resetting itself as the default browser if you update Windows 10 or even try to install another browser.

Fortunately, Windows 10 doesn’t uninstall your previous browser of choice, so it’s easy to change the operating system’s default web browser back again to your browser of choice – if you know where to find the settings to change this.

First, open the Start menu and select Settings, then click on the System option.

In the options that appear, select Default apps in the left-hand pane, then scroll down and click on Web browser, which likely has Microsoft’s Edge icon showing if you just upgraded from a previous version of Windows.

A list of browsers installed on your system will pop up. Select the browser you’d like Windows 10 to use by default. If you don’t see your browser of choice then it is not installed on your PC, so you will have to download it and walk through this very simple process again.

Once you’ve selected your preferred browser just return back to the main Settings page and your choice will be automatically saved.

From now on, all web links will open in Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or whatever alternative browser you want to use.

Backup and storage in Windows 8

windows 8.1Fewer than 5% of Windows users use the Windows Backup feature, so for Windows 8 Microsoft has replaced it with File History.

If you upgrade from Windows 7, you will still have Windows Backup installed and if you have it configured it will still carry on running. If not, you can find it under Windows 7 File Recovery in Control Panel but it’s probably better just to turn on File History.

File History insists on using an external or network drive and it doesn’t do full system backups. Instead it takes hourly copies of files in libraries or on the desktop, as well as contacts and favourites.

You can still use System Restore, or create an image that adds your installed applications to the built-in recovery tools so you get them back when you refresh Windows with the new troubleshooting tools. You can also choose to exclude files, change how often File History takes a snapshot or how long it keeps copies for, or you can just turn it on and leave it running.

Restoring an old file is nice and simple; go to the folder where it ought to be, select the file if it’s still there, or the folder if it’s gone completely, click the History button on the ribbon and browse back through files day by day, hour by hour or pick a file and see the different versions of it in Explorer.

Upgrading to Windows 8 will cost £24.99 in the UK

windows 8.1Microsoft is set to charge UK consumers £24.99 to upgrade to the latest version of its Windows Operating System – Windows 8.

The company announced in July that users would be charged $39.99 to upgrade from any version of Windows to Windows 8 Pro.

Yesterday it revealed the UK pricing for a downloaded update will be almost identical, avoiding fears that the firm would ‘rip off’ British consumers, as it has done in the past.

Microsoft is providing a UK English version of Windows 8 Pro, as well as special versions that don’t include Windows Media Player, to comply with the 2004 European Commission ruling.

Microsoft’s download store is registered in Germany, which applies VAT at a rate of 19% – 1% lower than the current UK rate.

The move comes just days after Microsoft revealed it has updated its corporate logo for the first time in 25 years as it prepares for the Windows 8 launch.

Faster Booting with Win 8

windows8lockscreen140105Microsoft will require that new PCs bearing the Windows 8 logo use a new boot solution called Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), which will significantly improve the boot process and experience. It replaces the archaic Basic Input Output System (BIOS) that we’ve used for decades.

You’ll see much faster boot times, on the order of 8 seconds from pressing the power button to being in Windows. This, along with less need for restarts, can help increase productivity in the office and save IT personnel time when applying upgrades or installing software.

Safeguards built into UEFI can also help save the IT department time and resources over the long term. Secure Boot prevents unauthorised operating systems from loading, and Early Launch Anti-Malware (ELAM) protects against boot loader attacks. UEFI will also allow remote diagnostics and repair of computers within the pre-OS environment. So instead of physically sending a technician to visit a PC experiencing boot issues, it might be possible to repair and restore the machine over the network.

Though most will enjoy the benefits of UEFI, there has been some controversy over the Secure Boot feature of UEFI that Microsoft is requiring PC makers to turn on by default. It’s not totally clear yet, but Secure Boot may have to be manually disabled for those who want to install or dual boot another OS such as Linux, adding an extra step to the process.